Q&A

Should I have any concerns about performing a pedicure on a client who has hepatitis C?

Q.

Should I have any concerns about performing a pedicure on a client who has hepatitis C?

A.

Yes, you should have concerns about performing a pedicure on a client who has hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through the blood. If your client has a nick in her skin that bleeds (such as something as small as a hangnail) and you also have a small opening in your skin, then theoretically the virus can be transmitted to you. Hepatitis is a virus that spreads relatively easily because it can survive for seven days on surfaces like manicuring instruments. Unfortunately, you won’t be aware of every client who is carrying the virus and so universal precautions are always recommended with all of your clients. If you have a cut or opening on your hands it would be advisable to wear a Band-Aid and/or gloves in order to protect yourself.

— Dana Stern, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in nails. She works in private practice in New York City.

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