Must I disclose my status to housemates?

When is it safe to stop using a band aid for a cut if you have hepatitis b and others in the household living with you?

Got a cut and made me think, when can I stop using a band aid. Is it when it scabs up, to like a hard layer? Is it when you no longer see any signs of blood and wound?

I usually use waterproof band aids that seals 360 degrees or liquid band aids which put a layer over the cut. But with constant hand sanitizing and hand washing, I am just wondering

Hi @NeptuneJ, great question!

In my opinion, the whole point is that you’re trying to prevent spreading any blood. Once it has scabbed up, there’s no big risk of that in a part of the body that doesn’t see much activity or is covered by clothing (e.g leg).

I’d be a little more conservative for parts of the body that you use a bit more often and where you’re more likely to accidentally scratch off the scab. In those cases, I’d be more inclined to wear a bandaid until the skin below has started healing (probably when it starts getting itchy is a good sign that the skin below has healed).

Any actual @HealthExperts want to comment?

Cheers,
Thomas

Yes I agree that sounds sensible.

If possible it would be best if household members were vaccinated for Hep B.

Kind regards

Mark (Infectious Diseases specialist)

1 Like

Hello! I have a relevant but propably silly question.
How do you deal with clothes that have touched a minor wound? I am currently doing a job that results in some small scratches now and there. Sometimes I don’t notice them righ away but later on during the day. How should I clean these clothes? What I do is I wash them seperately (I have a house mate) on 40C. Is this enough?
I don’t know if it’s relevant but my load last time was 1650.
Best,
Nick

Just to clarify. I am talking about small wounds (e.g. infected mosquito bites that bleed and similar minor wounds).

Hi @Nick_n,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question. Your viral load is quite low and the risk of transmission in general is therefore quite low as well (see similarly in this thread - Possible transmission by sharing water bottle). Ordinary laundry detergent is generally enough to inactivate any tiny amounts of Hep B that may have made it onto your clothes.

Cheers,
Thomas

Hello Thomas!
Thank you for your response! I am really grateful for this community!
I have two follow up questions.

  1. Should I wash them only once? Would it be preferable to wash it twice to make sure that my clothes are clean?
  2. Also, should I disinfect the washing machine afterwards with bleach before my housemate using it?

Thank you again!

Best,
Nick

Hi @Nick_n,

Detergents are going to inactivate Hep B, so the risk of Hep B hanging around is pretty low. I would think washing twice or disinfecting the washing machine is overkill for the amounts of virus we’re talking about here.

Cheers,
Thomas

If not your family, why would you wash your cloth with other peoples cloth? I wash my cloth separate from wife and kids. I use my own sink and my own bathroom. Not bc the fear of hep b transmission, but I use my bathroom in our bed room or basement.

In all honesty, even if I didn’t have hepatitis b, I would still wash my cloth and use separate bathroom from the kids

Hello Neptune!
Thank you for your response! My house mate is my brother so we share the washing machine since there is only one in the house.

Hello Thomas,
Again thank you for your response! I know my questions are silly but I am trying ti navigate my self with my diagnosis. One last question: As I said my house mate is my brother. Is it preferable not to wash our clothes at the same time?

Best,
Nick

Hi all,

HBV is fairly stable in dried blood at room temperature, but it is readily killed by detergents that remove its lipid envelope. I really don’t think it is going to survive washing with standard detergents, particularly if the machine is set to warm or hot. Even if trace amounts survive, they’d have to come in contact with an open cut or something similar on another person to transmit. In sum, I think that normal small amounts of blood from a scratch, etc. can be readily be dealt with by regular washing. However, if you desire additional peace of mind, you could use a spray cleaner to wipe down the controls and the parts of the machine that do not come in contact with the soapy water. Washing on hot would add another layer of certainty, but that might be hard on your clothes.

John Tavis

Hello Mr. Tavis,
Thank you for your response. Your answer really helps. I have to say that this small community is really amazing.
I set the washing machine on 40 Celsius (104F). I guess that’s warm enough (?). It’s the highest I can with out risking getting my clothes to shrink.
I had this question cause during the summer infected mosquito bites can bleed a little bit. I just wanted to make sure.
Thank you again!
Best,
Nick

I know of no specific scientific study regarding the effect of incubating HBV at 40C in a soap solution for 15-30 min that directly measures HBV survivability. However, I’d be really irritated if anyone in my lab did that to our HBV stocks and then expected an experiment to work! All joking aside, everything I know about HBV indicates that trace amounts of HBV should be destroyed by washing the way you do.

John.

1 Like

Hi Nick, I completely agree with Thomas that you because your viral load is so low and the amount of possible blood on your clothes is so tiny, regular laundry detergent is fine. When living with a roommate, it’s important to not share razors, nail clippers or toothbrushes. I’m sure you don’t want to do this anyway! On the positive side, it’s ok to share food, drinks and cook together. And to hug if your roommate is part of your “covid bubble” and/or if you both have already been vaccinated. Hopefully so!!! Always, Joan

Hello all,
Thank you for your responses! They are really helpful. So glad I found this community!

I am going to have the 2nd jab (Pfizer) on Saturday! After that I can start planning my vacation! Hope you are all safe too!

Best,
Nick

You should tell your brother. I don’t know what type of relationship you have with him, but if it’s your brother, it’s totally different than a friend.

Hi @john.tavis,

Just to nerd out a little, we could probably make a good guess. Laundry soap solution is ~100g of detergent in ~10L of water on the wash cycle (1% w/v). I think surfactants (SDS/SLS most commonly) makes up a decent percentage of the powder (let’s say 10%). 0.1% SDS is what we’d use to bust up capsids right? The concentration needed to strip the envelope would be even lower.

And that isn’t including all the lipases, proteases, etc. that are present in most laundry powders these days. Or the bleach that is included in most powders too.

I think we’re well and truly past the range of inactivating HBV (at least if you squirted it into a test tube, I guess things get a little more complicated when it’s a dried stain), particularly the <100 virus particles that would be released by a scratch in this instance.

TT

I agree completely! And I really like the geeking out!. 1% ionic detergent is WAY above what is needed to destroy the viral envelope at 0C, and it would work even better at 40C.

John.

Hi John and Thomas, great to have you two “geek out” about the scientific basis of what the CDC tells us is OK!! It’s very reassuring … always, Joan