Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) can cause chronic liver infection, disease, and even death. It can also bring on several rheumatic disorders that cause pain in joints, muscles, and connective tissues.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has Symptoms Of Hepatitis C?
Often there are no symptoms and with babies it is especially hard to tell since they cannot yet talk to tell you what is wrong. If you think that your baby may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus by you, or someone that has been around the baby, you need to see your child’s pediatrician and share your worries. The following symptoms are an indication of a hepatitis C infection:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dark urine (dark yellow)
- Stools that are clay-colored
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Extreme tiredness
- Abdominal pain on the right lower side
- A yellow color to the eyes and skin (this is known as jaundice)
If you notice your child exhibiting any of those symptoms, go to your pediatrician and let them know you suspect that your child has been exposed to someone who has HCV.
Children And The Spread Of HVC
Children cannot spread HCV by hugging, touching, or kissing. They should be free to go to daycare. Daycare teachers and officials should be told that your child has the hepatitis C virus, so in case they scrape a knee, bite their lip due to a fall, extra precautions will be taken, for example not allowing anyone to touch the child without latex gloves.
Parents should be alert and make sure that all personal items, anything that may contain a small amount of blood, is not shared. The virus can live in small amounts of dried blood, but it is not sure how long it can live like that, theoretically hepatitis C can survive 3 weeks outside of the body. This is why razors, nail clippers, and toothbrushes should not be shared and kept out of reach of children. You should also teach your child that it is not proper hygiene and it is unsafe to share these types of items.
Alcohol And Hepatitis C
Anyone with hepatitis C should not drink alcohol as this will speed up liver damage. Teens should not be drinking alcohol, especially not if they have HCV. Parents will have to be diligent when it comes to teens as they are exposed to peer pressure to drink.
Long-Term Effects Of HCV On Children
The long-term effects of hepatitis C on the liver of children can lead to scarring of the liver from chronic infection. This is called cirrhosis, the liver itself starts to die and the cells that die are replaced with scar tissue and fat when the liver has too much of this it will no longer work and you will need a transplant in order to save your life.