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Fear of Hepatitis B from barbershop clipper accident, needlestick injury, staph skin infection

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Gastroenterologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 1989
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Fear of Hepatitis B from barbershop clipper accident
I go to a small barbershop and I was there at 9am sharp just at opening. The barber seemed rushed to get me started and I did not see the clippers used to cut my hair were sterilized in any way. Perhaps they were dirty from the day before.

The barber accidentally hit my forehead with the clippers (I felt the impact/pinch) and a few hours later I started to develop a boil. Now I have a large, painful boil on my forehead roughly where the clippers hit my head.

I am reading about the risk of Hepatitis B being transmitted by dirty clippers in barbershops. I am worried, what is the risk considering I already got most likely a staph skin infection from this event.

What is the risk relative to a needlestick injury or going to the dentist?
Posted Wed, 23 May 2012 in Constipation
Answered by Dr. Ketan Vagholkar 26 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
I would say that your chances of acquiring hepatitis B in such a scenario would be minimal ( as I assume there was no bleeding when the clippers hit you). Hepatitis B is usually transmitted through infected body fluids and blood. Sharing of sharp instruments like razors can also transmit this virus. The chance of acquiring HBV infection through needle stick injury is approximately 20 to 30%. But this virus can survive outside the body for atleast 7 days.
In order to allay your anxiety, I would suggest the following
1.     If you have not been immunized against hepatitis B, please do so. Three doses of the vaccine are required to offer adequate protection.
2.     If the exposure was less than 24 hours ago, hepatitis B immunoglobulin is available which can protect you against the infection.
Please speak with your physician about this as soon as possible.

If you have already been immunized against hepatitis B, there is nothing that you need to worry about. You will be protected from the infection. You should refrain from getting shaved or allowing the barber to use his instruments.
I hope I have addressed your concerns. I will be available for follow ups.
With regards
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