Beware Hepatitis C at the barbers

Beware Hepatitis C at the barbers

I just wanted to bring to your attention, that Hepatitis B and C are life-threatening viruses. Hepatitis C spreads from blood-to-blood contact. Even having a haircut at a barber’s shop might get you infected.

Electrical clippers, scissors or sometimes unchanged razors used on a person might nick someone with the virus, and the unsterilised tools used on another patron.

Studies have suggested that the Hepatitis C virus can live outside of the body in dried blood for four days!

In United States it is a government requirement for barbers to disinfect their scissors, comb and electrical clippers after cutting each client’s hair.

In barbershops in the US, they usually keep a jar of ‘barbicide’ (a disinfectant manufatured by King Research) to disinfect tools. A client can request that all equipment be disinfected prior to getting a cut.

In Malaysia, however, there is no control of disinfecting the hair clippers, scissors or combs. A barber could unintentionally be infecting someone with Hepatitis C.

Sometimes the virus can also spread at dental clinics, if the equipment has not been sterilised.

There need to be an awareness among the public, health ministry and the barbers to prevent the spread of hepatitis C virus and to put up signboards outside barber shops.

Patrons need to be taught to request the barber to disinfect their equipment. At the same time the Health Ministry should take better control of the situation.

Letter to Malaysiakini byPatrick Chin

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