Everything You Need To Know About Hepatitis C

What It Is

Hepatitis C is an infection or a virus that causes inflammation of the liver and liver disease. A virus can cause sickness and can be passed on from person to person. Inflammation refers to the swelling that happens when the tissues of the body become infected or injured. Inflammation also causes organs to not function properly.

Who Gets It

Anyone can get the disease, but those that have are higher risk include:

  • Someone born to a mother with the disease
  • Someone who has exposure to infected needles or blood
  • Someone who has had sex with over one partner in the duration of the last six months
  • Someone with a history of sexually transmitted disease (STI)
  • Someone infected with HIV
  • Someone who is on kidney dialysis – this refers to the process where extra water and wastes are filtered from the body other than the means of the kidneys.
  • Someone who has injected illegal drugs
  • Someone working or living in prison
  • Someone who has had body piercings or tattoos

How One Gets It

One may get hepatitis C through exposure to the blood of an infected individual. This contact can occur in the following ways:

  • Being born to a mother who has hepatitis C
  • Obtaining an accidental stick with a needle, which was previously used on an infected individual
  • Having unprotected sex with an individual who is infected
  • Having contact with open sores to blood of an infected individual
  • Sharing drug materials and drug needle with an infected individual
  • Being pierced or tattooed with unsterilized tools that were previously used on an infected individual
  • Using a razor, nail clippers, or toothbrush belonging to an infected individual

You Cannot Get The Disease From The Following:

  • Holding or shaking hands with an infected individual
  • Being sneezed or coughed on by an infected individual
  • Hugging and infected individual
  • Sitting by an infected individual
  • Sharing forks, spoons, and any other eating tool with an infected individual
  • Eating food or drinking water with an infected individual
  • A baby cannot get the disease from drinking breast milk

Its Symptoms

Until the virus does not cause liver damage, the majority of people do not usually experience any symptoms. It can take ten or more years until this happens. However, those who do have symptoms can have any of the following:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Tiredness
  • Upset stomachs
  • Stomach pains
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Dark-yellow colored urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Yellowish skin and eyes – jaundice
  • Light-colored stools

Usually, when the symptoms occur they can start after one to three months after one has come into contact with the disease. A doctor should be seen right away if you or your children are experiencing symptoms related to the virus.

It’s Diagnosis And Treatment

A blood test can reveal whether one has hepatitis C or not. These are usually carried out in an outpatient’s facility or at a doctor’s office. Your doctor will usually take a blood sample, which is then sent to the lab. Until the virus does not become chronic, it is not usually treated. Chronic hepatitis C is treated using medicines that stop or slow the virus from causing further damage to the liver.

How It Can Be Avoided

You can ensure your protection as well as the protection of others by:

  • Not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
  • Not donating blood products or blood
  • Wearing gloves if you need to touch another individuals open sores or blood
  • Not sharing a razor, nail clippers, or toothbrush
  • Ensuring any body piercings and tattoos are done using sterile tools
  • Letting your doctor and dentist know if you have the virus
  • Using a condom during sex