Hepatitis C is a virus that may cause long-standing liver disease. It is spread through the blood of a person with hepatitis C. You can’t get it through casual contact—hugging, sharing utensils/drinking glasses, kissing, using public restrooms, sneezing, coughing or shaking hands.
How will you feel if you have hepatitis C? Most have no symptoms. Some have flu-like symptoms like fatigue, nausea, body aches, weight loss, weakness, decreased appetite. The virus may stay in your body for the rest of your life, even if you have no symptoms. It can cause liver damage/scarring called cirrhosis.
To decrease your risk, do not share needles or use illegal drugs. If you have done either, you are at risk for Hepatitis C. Ask your doctor about testing. Do not share items that may have blood on them: toothbrushes, razors, combs, brushes, or nail clippers. Sexual transmission is low, but latex condoms and limiting number of sexual partners helps decrease risk.
Is there a vaccine for hepatitis C? No. But, there are vaccines for hepatitis A and B. If you have hepatitis C, the other two vaccines are suggested to decrease the risk of other infections affecting the liver.
Is there treatment for hepatitis C? Yes. There are medications like interferon and ribavirin that may need to be taken for a year to help clear the infection.
What should I do if I have hepatitis C? No medications should be taken that tax the liver (like acetaminophen) and no drinking alcohol.
Will I infect others? Hopefully not. Wear a latex condom with intercourse. Do not donate blood and don’t share personal items as above.
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Hope this helps.