[Question #3266] hEP B & C risk analysis please

38 months ago

MONDAY, went to mas parlor and got HJ, lady sprayed penis with alcohol at end, noticed some burning, making me question skin integrity. I do masterbate often. I didn’t check her for bleeding hands. TUESDAY, went back to inspect her hands for any cuts, she was busy with client and agitated. I shook her hand and thanked her, I FORGOT TO WASH after the handshake. Picked up 2 year old, (washed at daycare) then used phone like normal. I saw a new open crack on my palm skin at same time. At home, thinking that dirty phone could put potential virus back on my hand, I immediately wiped phone screen (but unfortunately not full body) with isopropyl alchohol, then i believe, although not 100% sure, (2nd guessing) i rinsed my hands with alcohol too (i read that hand-washing won't kill Hep virus, that true?) and washed hands again. 2 year old then gets a very small cut on foot, and not thinking, i pumped 2X foam soap on my two fingers and then cleaned wound, and BAMN, start freaking out because that was the same hand I shook that massage ladies hand when she was with a client, all while thinking soap doesn't kill HEP.  That my phone harbored virus on it by not cleaning whole thing? WEDNESDAY – I did go back and get to inspect her hands, no evidence of new or old cuts. Is my daughter at any risk at all from the wound touching? Myself, from abrasion on penal or palm?  I never did actually see any blood on my hand at anytime on Tuesday. Phone cover is black, would hide any dried. 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
38 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

There is no risk from the events you describe. Although often described as STDs, in fact viral hepatitis is rarely sexually transmitted. Hepatitis C for sure is almost never sexually transmitted:  the only proved sexual transmission is in men having sex with men who participate in potentially traumatic anal sexual practices (i.e. with blood exposure). In heterosexuals, the virus is sexually transmitted rarely if ever. (In married persons in whom one partner has HCV, the frequency of infection in the spouse is exactly the same as in the general population without regular sexual exposure to infected persons.) Hepatitis B is more frequently transmitted sexually, but it's still a very rare event between men and women -- more common among men who have sex with men.

Anyway, to the extent there is potential for sexual transmission, it is believed to reauire intercourse. Hand-genital contact is no risk and neither are cuts on the hands (if not freshly bleeding), nor are you at increased risk if your penile skin indeed was irritated from masturbation. I'm not at all surprised your partner was "agitated" when you insisted on examining her hands. Doing that was nonsense and highly inappropriate:  she was right to be upset with you and you were wrong to do it.

In summary, no risk at all, either to you or to your kids or other household members. You could have sexual events like this every day the rest of your life and never expect to catch hepatitis B or C. But to the extent you are worried about it, get vaccinated to be protected against hep B. For sure don't worry about hepatitis C, even if you have unprotected sex with persons at ris -- and for sure don't worry about events like those described above.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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38 months ago

The alcohol sensation on the groin reminded me of a conversation on MEDHELP where it was discussed about intact, non-intact skin and transmission. Any more precise definitions on intact, non-intact, superficial, and open “gushing,” and what is reality as opposed to just theoretically in terms of transmission would be appreciated. AS per my main concern, I feel it wasn’t answered. As per the second day, when I shook hands with the lady, mid client, I didn’t wash right away. MAIN CONCERN 1 ) Obviously the lady had no cuts so it’s likely she didn’t bleed either day on my groin or hands, but what if she touched something on her client, then we shook hands, then I grabbed and touched my phone and computer, only to eventually finally wash my hands, but re-touch the partially cleaned computer and phone just prior to cleaning that little wound on my family member (one drop blood, 2 to 3mm)? If HEP was like HIV, I’d be 25$ richer, but all this talk about Hepatitis B & C being such a “hardy” virus. In fact, the dried blood scenario on a desk or razor is all that is discussed and using EPA approved blah blah blah, but nothing on just hand washing. Does soap work? Lucky me I can clearly remember pumping 2 shots of foam soap on my two fingers to be used to clean the wound. CONCERN2 ) what is Risk of any infectious transmission through my nasal cavity. I remember catching myself picking my nose (dry weather) before washing my hands. 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
38 months ago
"...but what if she touched something on her client, then we shook hands, [etc]..."  Still no risk. Re-read my original reply.

"...what is Risk of any infectious transmission through my nasal cavity"?  No such risk is known.


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38 months ago
yes, i re-read, you mentioned sexual activity many times so i thought you missed the part about the cross-contamination/touching aspect which wasn't sexual, but you melded it together quickly. The kid's cut was a very minute bleeder, but she's my heart and soul,  hence my concern about having touched something with virus (indirect or not) and exposing her when tending to her wound.

 Does soap kill HEP virus?      fyi, i did try and get Vaccine at walgreens and insurance denied it. Maybe primary DR can do.... 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
38 months ago
I read your question carefully. These viruses are not transmitted by touching of any kind, with or without cuts or nicks on the skin.

Soap kills the hepatitis viruses.

Some insurance plans cover hepatitis B immunization, others don't. Most likely your primary care provider will get the same answer from the insurance company as the pharmacy did, but I agree it is worth a try. And by the way, hepatitis B vaccination is included in normal child vaccination plans, so it is likely your child has been vaccinated and cannot catch hep B.

That concludes the two follow-up comments/questions and replies included with each thread, and so that ends this discussion. There was absolutely no chance you could have caught hep B or C from the events described, even if the massage worker is infected (which probably she is not). And if you happen to have either virus, there is also no chance of infecting your child if somehow you were infected. These viruses never are transmitted parent to child or to other household contacts, assuming no sex between them. Believe it, stop worrying about it, and move on.


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