Preventing The Spread Of Infection
While you’re ill, it’s also important to try to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.
- stay off work or school until at least a week after your jaundice or other symptoms started
- avoid preparing food for others if possible
- wash your hands with soap and water regularly, particularly after going to the toilet and before preparing food
- avoid sharing towels
- wash soiled laundry separately on a hot cycle
- clean the toilet, flush handles and taps more frequently than usual
- avoid having sex while you’re infectious hepatitis A is most infectious from around 2 weeks before the symptoms start until about a week after they first develop
Any close contacts, such as people who live in the same house as you, may be advised to have the hepatitis A vaccine to reduce their risk of becoming infected.
Page last reviewed: 11 March 2019 Next review due: 11 March 2022
Who Should Get Tested
You should consider getting tested for hepatitis C if you’re worried you could have been infected or you fall into one of the groups at an increased risk of being infected.
- Hepatitis C often has no symptoms, so you may still be infected if you feel healthy.
- The following groups of people are at an increased risk of hepatitis C:
- ex-drug users and current drug users, particularly users of injected drugs
- people who received blood transfusions before September 1991
- recipients of organ or tissue transplants before 1992
- people who have lived or had medical treatment in an area where hepatitis C is common high risk areas include North Africa, the Middle East and Central and East Asia
- babies and children whose mothers have hepatitis C
- anyone accidentally exposed to the virus, such as health workers
- people who have received a tattoo or piercing where equipment may not have been properly sterilised
- sexual partners of people with hepatitis C
If you continue to engage in high-risk activities, such as injecting drugs frequently, regular testing may be recommended. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
Can Hep C Be Cured Completely
Well, the good news is hepatitis C is curable. Though it is a chronic infection, recently developed drugs can clear the virus completely from the system. If the viral load is nil after three months of treatment completion, people are considered cured. This is called sustained virologic response and data suggest that, in these cases, people will stay virus-free for life.
However, people must remember that hepatitis C is a lot more than just liver disease. Hepatitis C is often associated with many medical complications, such as a heightened risk of developing kidney diseases and cancer in the future. The drugs used in the treatment are accompanied by adverse reactions like every other drug. Hence, prevention is the best cure in this case.
Intensive therapy with antivirals against hepatitis will significantly reduce the risk of liver failure, liver cancer and the need for a liver transplant. However, often, the disease causes severe liver scarring. This scarring of the liver is irreversible and can cause potential complications, such as liver failure. Hence, people with hepatitis C need lifelong monitoring.
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Acute V Chronic Hepatitis C
Acute hepatitis C is used to describe a new infection it typically occurs within six months of exposure to the virus.
Chronic hepatitis C may last throughout a patients entire lifetime. This infection could result in scarring, cancer, or damage of the liver. In some cases, chronic hepatitis C may even result in death.
Is There A Cure For Hepatitis B
There is no cure or medication that totally eliminates the virus or makes HBsAg negative, but there is hope. There are approved therapies for hepatitis B and many in development. First-line therapies in the U.S. and globally are entecavir, tenofovir and tenofovir , which are antivirals. Sometimes, pegylated interferon is used. These drugs control and manage the virus and reduce potential liver damage. The virus is suppressed, liver enzymes and liver function tests may normalize and the liver is better able to heal. In rare cases, they may even get rid of the virus .
You might be interested in the recent by Dr. Timothy Block, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation Dr. Chari Cohen, our senior vice president and Maureen Kamischke, the Foundation’s patient engagement and consult specialist.
You might also listen to this podcast by HBFs Dr. Tim Block, the co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation about efforts to find a cure, and how the time is right for these great medical discoveries to be achieved sometime soon.
For a complete list of FDA-approved drugs and other promising drugs in development for hepatitis B, visit our Drug Watch page.
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Treatment Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is treated with antiviral medications that aim to clear the virus from your body.
New all-tablet treatments have greatly improved the outcomes for people with hepatitis C. These treatments can cure more than 95% of individuals with chronic hepatitis C. There are several new tablets that are used in combination to treat all hepatitis C strains . They are effective for people with no liver damage and those who have more advanced liver damage or cirrhosis.
These new tablet medications are available and subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and can be prescribed by specialists, general practitioners and specialised nurse practitioners.
There are no restrictions on accessing treatment it is available for all adults with a Medicare card. People under 18 are able to access treatment and it is recommended they are referred to a pediatrician experienced in the treatment of hepatitis C.
For more information on the new medications for the treatment of hepatitis C, see our video: Hepatitis C Cure what it means for Victorians.
If your doctor does not know about the new treatments, you can call the LiverLine on for information, and to find a GP who can help you.
Talk with your doctor about treatment options and the potential for interactions with other medications, herbal preparations and other drugs. If you take prescribed medication this will be managed so you can access treatment.
In general, if you have hepatitis C you will feel better if you:
Getting Tested Is The Only Way To Know If You Have Hepatitis C
A blood test called a hepatitis C antibody test can tell if you have been infected with the hepatitis C viruseither recently or in the past. If you have a positive antibody test, another blood test is needed to tell if you are still infected or if you were infected in the past and cleared the virus on your own.
- Are 18 years of age and older
- Are pregnant
- Currently inject drugs
- Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
- Have HIV
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Are on hemodialysis
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A Dog Get Viral Hepatitis
Dehydration may be an indication of getting hepatitis in dogs. To catch the disease, dogs consume feces, saliva, urine, and nasal discharge. Those dogs that successfully recover from the disease will excrete the virus in their urine for six months, if not longer.
Spread Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact when blood from a person with hepatitis C enters another persons bloodstream.
The most common way people become infected with hepatitis C in Australia is by sharing injecting equipment such as needles, syringes, spoons and tourniquets. It is possible to be infected with hepatitis C after only one risk event.
Hepatitis C may also be spread through:
- tattooing and body piercing with equipment that has not been properly cleaned, disinfected or sterilised such as backyard tattoos’. Registered parlours with appropriate infection control procedures are not a risk
- needlestick injuries in a healthcare setting
- receiving blood transfusions in Australia prior to 1990 before hepatitis C virus testing of blood donations was introduced
- medical procedures, blood transfusions or blood products and mass immunisation programs provided in a country other than Australia
- pregnancy or childbirth there is a 5% chance of a mother with chronic hepatitis C infection passing on the virus to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
Breastfeeding is safe, however if nipples are cracked or bleeding cease breastfeeding until they have healed.
Less likely possible routes of transmission of hepatitis C include:
Hepatitis C cannot be transmitted by:
- sharing food, cups or cutlery
- shaking hands or day-to-day physical contact.
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Is There A Cure For Chronic Hepatitis B
Currently, there is no complete cure for hepatitis B. But when managed properly, those living with the virus can expect to live a normal life. Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are crucial components in managing the disease.
You should also visit a doctor familiar with hepatitis B at least annuallythough twice a year might be best to monitor your liver through blood tests and medical imaging. As with most diseases, detecting it early leads to a better outcome. If youre exposed to the virus, you should get an antibody injection within 12 hours of exposure.
There Should Be No Shame Or Stigma Attached To Hep C
Individuals newly diagnosed with hepatitis C may not get treatment or seek support because they are afraid of how others will view them.
Some people dont want to the disease or tell anybody because of the stigma, says Armstrong, who is a member of the American Liver Foundations patient advisory committee. I want to encourage people to come forward and seek treatment.
People say, I dont want anyone to know I have hep C. It has a bad connotation. People are going to look at me differently, says Galati. I spend a lot of my time trying to dispel this stigma and embarrassment.
Kowdley says, There are people in all walks of life and a variety of circumstances that have been exposed to hepatitis C. What they should focus on is to empower themselves, advocate for themselves, and link to care from experts like myself who are in a practice that has knowledge and expertise in treating hep C.
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If You Notice Symptoms See A Doctor Right Away
Symptoms of hepatitis C include the following:
- Jaundice a yellowish tone to the eyes and skin
- Mild, chronic right belly pain
- Loss of appetite
If you believe you have been exposed to hepatitis C or notice any symptoms, visit your primary care doctor as soon as possible. If you test positive for the virus, your doctor can refer you to a hepatologist to discuss your options.
“I strongly encourage all baby boomers and others who are at high risk to get tested, even if you don’t look or feel sick,” Reau says. “If you do have hepatitis C, the earlier we discover it, the more likely we can prevent it from progressing and causing more serious damage.”
If I Have Hepatitis How Can I Avoid Giving It To Someone Else
For hepatitis A, one of the best things you can do is wash your hands a lot. That will keep the virus out of food and drinks.
If you have hepatitis B and C, you need to find ways to keep others from making contact with your blood. Follow these tips:
- Cover your cuts or blisters.
- Carefully throw away used bandages, tissues, tampons, and sanitary napkins.
- Don’t share your razor, nail clippers, or toothbrush.
- If your blood gets on objects, clean them with household bleach and water.
- Don’t breastfeed if your nipples are cracked or bleeding.
- Don’t donate blood, organs, or sperm.
- If you inject drugs, don’t share needles or other equipment.
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Medically Reviewed By Dr Gerardo Sison Pharmd
Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D., is a registered pharmacist who has worked in clinical and retail settings providing drug education for healthcare professionals and patients alike. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida where he earned a Doctorate of Pharmacy . He piloted a longitudinal clinical research program and completed his clinical internship at St. Josephs Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Read More > >
How Long Can You Live With Alcoholic Hepatitis
Prognosis for alcoholic hepatitis depends on the extent of liver damage and whether the person abstains from alcohol or continues drinking. The chances of full recovery from mild alcoholic hepatitis are excellent with total and immediate alcohol abstinence. Severe alcoholic hepatitis with complications has significantly high mortality, particularly if a person continues drinking.
In mild and moderate disease with no complications, 30-day mortality may be less than 20%. However, mortality can exceed 40% in the case of severe alcoholic hepatitis with extensive liver damage and complications . Overall, the 1-year mortality rate after hospitalization for alcoholic hepatitis is approximately 40%.
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Diagnosis Of Hepatitis C
If you are at risk of hepatitis C infection, or think you may have been exposed to hepatitis C in the past, see your doctor for an assessment of your liver health. This will include blood tests and possibly a non-invasive test for liver damage .
There are 2 blood tests used to diagnose hepatitis C. Usually these can be done at the same time but sometimes they will be done separately.
The first test known as a hepatitis C antibody test can tell you whether you have ever been exposed to hepatitis C.
It may take 2 to 3 months from the time of infection until a blood test can detect antibodies to hepatitis C, so there is a window period during which you cannot tell if you are or have been infected. In this time, take precautions to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
The second test is called hepatitis C PCR, which will be done if the antibody test is positive. This determines if the virus is still present in your blood or liver or if you have already cleared the infection.
If you have cleared the virus or had successful treatment to cure it, the PCR test will be negative.
A liver ultrasound or Fibroscan can also be performed to assess if you have any liver damage.
If your doctor is inexperienced in diagnosing hepatitis C you can call the LiverLine on for information, and to find a GP who can help you.
How Do I Get Hepatitis B Treatment
Usually for adults, hepatitis B goes away on its own and you wont need treatment. Your doctor might tell you to rest, eat well, and get plenty of fluids. You may also get medicines to help with any symptoms you might have but be sure to talk with your doctor or nurse before taking anything.
If you have chronic hepatitis, there are medicines you can take to treat it. Your doctor will tell you about your options and help you get whatever treatment you need.
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How Muchis Hep C Treatment
Anyone hoping to hear that the medication used to treat HepC is inexpensive isnt going to like what we have to say here. DAA drugs workincredibly well to cure yourself of Hep C very quickly, but they are certainlynot cheap and especially so for people who dont have extended health insurancethat also covers prescription medication.
As mentioned, Sovaldi is one of the most commonly prescribed of these meds for treating Hep C. Other standard ones are Harvoni, Mavyret, Zepatier, and Technivie. To give you some idea regarding how much is Hep C treatment with these drugs, consider this:
- A Hepatitis C 12 week treatment with Harvoni can cost nearly $100,000!
- The same treatment with Technivie can cost $75,000 +
- Nearly $55,000 for a 12 week treatment with Zepatier
- Approximately $40,000 for a 12 week treatment with Mavyret
The reason these meds are so expensive is because of thelarge demand for them and the high costs associated with the manufacturersbeing able to bring them to market.
What Is The Outlook For People With Hepatitis B
The outlook for people with HBV is better now than ever before. You are certainly able to live a full life and help yourself stay healthy. You should make sure to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who is qualified to treat hepatitis B, possibly a liver doctor.
Make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis A. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications or over-the-counter products, including supplements and natural products. These could interfere with your medication or damage your liver. For instance, taking acetaminophen in large doses may harm your liver.
Follow the usual guidelines for living a healthy life:
- Eat nutritious foods, choosing from a variety of vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It is said that cruciferous vegetables are especially good at protecting the liver.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke and dont drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are bad for your liver.
- Do things that help you cope with stress, like journaling, talking with others, meditating and doing yoga.
- Avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Just like hepatitis B, you can get this type by sharing needles or having contact with infected blood. You can also catch it by having sex with somebody who’s infected, but that’s less common.
If you had a blood transfusion before new screening rules were put in place in 1992, you are at risk for hepatitis C. If not, the blood used in transfusions today is safe. It gets checked beforehand to make sure it’s free of the virus that causes hepatitis B and C.
It’s rare, but if you’re pregnant and have the disease, it’s possible to pass it to your newborn.
There are some myths out there about how you get hepatitis C, so let’s set the record straight. It’s not spread by food and water . And you canât spread it by doing any of these things:
- Joint pain
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
Sometimes, people have no symptoms. To be sure you have hepatitis, youâll need to get tested.