Wednesday, September 21, 2022

How Do Most People Get Hepatitis C

How Is It Treated

Hepatitis C: What Baby Boomers Need to Know

Experts recommend that nearly everyone who has hepatitis C receive treatment. Talk with your doctor about whether you should get treatment. Current treatments for hepatitis C almost always work.

Taking care of yourself is an important part of the treatment for hepatitis C. Some people with hepatitis C don’t notice a change in the way they feel. Others feel tired, sick, or depressed. You may feel better if you exercise and eat healthy foods. To help prevent further liver damage, avoid alcohol and illegal drugs and certain medicines that can be hard on your liver.

What About Patients With Hepatitis C Who Also Have Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B virus can flare in patients who are co-infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C and are taking medication for hepatitis C. This has been reported as a potential risk for patients who are taking hepatitis C treatment and have underlying hepatitis B as well. The flare usually occurs within a few weeks after the patient starts taking medication for hepatitis C. Therefore, patients who have both hepatitis B and hepatitis C should be seen by a hepatitis expertbeforestarting treatment of the hepatitis C they may need to start taking hepatitis B treatment to avoid a hepatitis B flare.

How Do You Get Hepatitis A

The main way you get hepatitis A is when you eat or drink something that has the hep A virus in it. A lot of times this happens in a restaurant. If an infected worker there doesn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom, and then touches food, they could pass the disease to you.

Food or drinks you buy at the supermarket can sometimes cause the disease, too. The ones most likely to get contaminated are:

  • Shellfish
  • Ice and water

You could catch or spread it if you’re taking care of a baby and you don’t wash your hands after changing their diaper. This can happen, for example, at a day care center.

Another way you can get hep A is when you have sex with someone who has it.

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What Can A Person With Chronic Hepatitis C Do To Take Care Of His Or Her Liver

People with chronic hepatitis C should be monitored regularly by an experienced doctor. They should avoid alcohol because it can cause additional liver damage. They also should check with a health professional before taking any prescription pills, supplements, or over-the-counter medications, as these can potentially damage the liver. If liver damage is present, a person should check with his or her doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

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Common Questions from Those Newly Diagnosed with Hepatitis C

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Are There Ways To Cure Hepatitis C Other Than With Medications

Patients sometimes ask whether there are ways to treat hepatitis C other than taking medicines. Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent hepatitis C. Once a person is infected, the only way to treat it is with prescribed antiviral medications.

Some patients worry that having hepatitis C means they will need a liver transplant. Only a very small fraction of people with hepatitis C require a liver transplant. By far, most people with hepatitis C never need a liver transplant. A transplant is performedonlywhen damage to the liver is extremely advanced and the liver is unable to perform its basic functions. A transplant provides a new working liver, but a transplant does not get rid of the hepatitis C virus in the patient. Patients with a liver transplant still need antiviral medication to cure their virus.

How Do People Get Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is spread when the blood of a person who is infected with hepatitis C gets into the body of a person who does not have hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C infection happens the most in people who:

  • Are being treated in a health care setting where needles or other medical tools are not sterilized in the right way

Much less often, hepatitis C can happen:

  • When a child is born to a mother who has hepatitis C
  • From having sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis C
  • From sharing items like a toothbrush or a razor with a person who has hepatitis C

In the past, hepatitis C would happen from:

  • Medical procedures involving donated blood
    • Before this time, the screening process for blood diseases within donated blood was not well controlled.
  • Medical equipment contaminated with hepatitis C, before strict infection control was required.

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Who’s At Risk For Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C Virus is spread primarily by contact with blood and blood products. Blood transfusions and the sharing of used needles and syringes have been the main causes of the spread of HCV in the United States. With the introduction in 1991 of routine blood screening for HCV antibody and improvements in the test in mid-1992, transfusion-related hepatitis C has virtually disappeared. At present, injection drug use is the most common risk factor for contracting the disease. However, there are patients who get hepatitis C without any known exposure to blood or to drug use.

Those individuals most at risk for hepatitis C infection are:

  • People who had blood transfusions, blood products, or organ donations before June, 1992, when sensitive tests for HCV were introduced for blood screening.
  • Health care workers who suffer needle-stick accidents.
  • Injection drug users, including those who may have used drugs once many years ago.
  • Infants born to HCV-infected mothers.

Other groups who appear to be at slightly increased risk for hepatitis C are:

  • People with high-risk sexual behavior, multiple partners, and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • People who snort cocaine using shared equipment.
  • People who have shared toothbrushes, razors and other personal items with a family member that is HCV-infected.

How Can You Tell If You Have Chronic Hepatitis C

What to know about Hepatitis C

While most people dont feel unwell even with chronic hepatitis C, this isnt true for everyone. Some potential signs and symptoms of chronic hepatitis C that has led to liver damage include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the legs or ankles
  • Accumulating fluid in the abdomen
  • The appearance of spidery blood vessels on the skin
  • Drowsiness, confusion, and slurred speech

Without treatment, a hepatitis C infection can cause severe liver damage and, potentially, liver failure, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Within 20 years of becoming infected, 5 to 20 percent of people with hepatitis C develop cirrhosis of the liver, says the CDC.

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Eat Regular Nutritious Meals

Sometimes people with hepatitis C have a hard time eating. You may have no appetite, feel nauseated, or have different tastes than you are used to. Even if you don’t feel like eating, it’s very important to eat small meals throughout the day. Some people have nausea in the afternoon. If this happens to you, try to eat a big, nutritious meal in the morning.

If you have cirrhosis, it may not be a good idea to eat salty foods or foods that are high in protein. If you want to know more about which foods to avoid and which foods are good to eat, ask your doctor about meeting with a registered dietitian to discuss a healthy eating plan.

Tests To Diagnose Hepatitis C

How is Hepatitis C diagnosed?

There are two main blood tests typically used to diagnose Hepatitis C. First, youll have a screening test that shows if youve ever had Hepatitis C at some point in your life. If this test is positive, youll have a second test to see if you have Hepatitis C now. These blood tests are described below:

Hepatitis C antibody test

This is the screening test used by doctors to show whether or not you have ever been exposed to Hepatitis C at some time in your life, by detecting antibodies in your blood. Antibodies are substances your body makes to fight off all kinds of infections. If you were ever infected with Hepatitis C, your body would have made antibodies to fight the virus.

If the test result is:

  • Negative, it means you have not been exposed to Hepatitis C and further testing is usually not needed.
  • Positive, you have had Hepatitis C at some point. However, it does not tell you whether you have it now. Youll need to see your doctor for another test the Hepatitis C RNA test to determine if the virus is still active and present in your blood.

Hepatitis C RNA Qualitative Test

This test will determine whether or not you are currently infected with Hepatitis C. It is often called the PCR test because of the process used . It looks for the genetic material of the Hepatitis C virus in your blood.

If the test result is:

Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test

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Treatment How Is Chronic Hepatitis C Treated

Each person should discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating hepatitis. This can include some internists, family practitioners, infectious disease doctors, or hepatologists . People with chronic hepatitis C should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for treatment. The treatment most often used for hepatitis C is direct acting antiviral treatments.

How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C

Curing Hepatitis C [Video]

Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. In addition to the 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, as of 2017, there is a 2-dose series given over 1 month.

Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or postexposure prophylaxis is available. The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to never inject drugs or to stop injecting drugs by getting into and staying in drug treatment. If you continue injecting drugs, always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment.

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How Does A Person Get Hepatitis

A person can get hepatitis A through the following sources:

  • Food or water contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person
  • Sexual contact

A person can get hepatitis B in many ways, which include:

  • Having sexual contact with an infected person
  • Sharing needles
  • Being in direct contact with an infected persons blood
  • Transferred from mother to the fetus
  • Getting an infected needle prick
  • Being in contact with an infected persons body fluid

A person can get hepatitis C through:

  • Sharing infected needles
  • Being in direct contact with an infected persons blood
  • Getting an infected needle prick
  • Having sexual contact with an infected person

Hepatitis D can be spread through:

  • Transferred from mother to the fetus
  • Being in contact with the infected fluid or blood
  • A person can get hepatitis D only if they are infected previously with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E mainly infects people who eat or drink food or water contaminated with the virus. Under-cooked foods can also spread hepatitis E. It is more dangerous in pregnant women.

Tests For The Hepatitis C Virus

If your doctor thinks that you may have hepatitis C, he or she may order:

    • A hepatitis C virus test. This is a blood test that looks for antibodies against the hepatitis C virus. It shows whether you have been exposed to the virus.
    • A blood test that looks for the genetic material of the hepatitis C virus. This test shows whether you are infected with the virus now.
    • A blood test to find out the kind of hepatitis C virus you have. Knowing your genotype will help you and your doctor decide if and how you should be treated.

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What Are The Long

Of every 100 people infected with the hepatitis C virus, about:

  • 7585 people will develop chronic hepatitis C virus infection of those,
  • 6070 people will go on to develop chronic liver disease
  • 520 people will go on to develop cirrhosis over a period of 2030 years and
  • 15 people will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Getting A Tattoo If You Have Hcv

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If you have HCV and want a tattoo, the same rules for preventing an infection apply for preventing the spread of the virus. Let your tattoo artist know that you have HCV.

If the artist is uncomfortable giving you a tattoo, seek out an artist whos trained and capable of tattooing people with HCV.

Be sure to ask for new equipment for your tattoo. Watch as your artist throws the equipment away or sterilizes it after your tattoo is finished.

Ask your artist to wear gloves during the tattooing process and cover your new tattoo with sterile gauze until it has fully healed, scars and all.

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What Is Chronic Hepatitis C

Doctors refer to hepatitis C infections as either acute or chronic:

  • An acute HCV infection is a short-term illness that clears within 6 months of when a person is exposed to the virus.
  • A person who still has HCV after 6 months is said to have a chronic hepatitis C infection. This is a long-term illness, meaning the virus stays in the body and can cause lifelong illness. An estimated 3.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic HCV.

Other Risks Can Include:

  • Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another persons blood, such as razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers
  • Inoculation practices involving multiple use needles or immunization air guns
  • Exposure of broken skin to HCV infected blood
  • HIV infected persons

People with current or past risk behaviors should consider HCV testing and consult with a physician. HCV testing is currently not available at most public health clinics in Missouri. For information about HCV testing that is available, call the HCV Program Coordinator at 573-751-6439.

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Pregnancy And Hepatitis C

Should pregnant women be tested for HCV antibodies?

Yes. All pregnant women should be screened for anti-HCV during each pregnancy, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is < 0.1% . Pregnant women with known risk factors should be tested during each pregnancy, regardless of setting prevalence. Any pregnant women testing positive for anti-HCV should receive a PCR test for HCV RNA to determine current infection status.

Can a mother with hepatitis C infect her infant during birth?

The overall risk of an infected mother transmitting HCV to her infant is approximately 4%8% per pregnancy . Transmission occurs during pregnancy or childbirth, and no prophylaxis is available to protect the newborn from infection. The risk is significantly higher if the mother has a high HCV viral load, or is coinfected with HIV with which the rate of transmission ranges from 8%15% . Most infants infected with HCV at birth have no symptoms.

Should a woman with hepatitis C be advised against breastfeeding?

When should children born to HCV-infected mothers be tested to see if they were infected at birth?

How Is Hepatitis C Infection Prevented

Hepatitis B vs. hepatitis C: Differences and which is worse

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. To reduce your risk of getting hepatitis C:

  • Injection drug use is the most common way people get hepatitis C. Avoid injecting drugs to reduce your risk. If you do inject drugs, use sterile injection equipment. Avoid reusing or sharing.
  • Avoid sharing personal care items that might have blood on them
  • If you are a health care or public safety worker, follow universal blood/body fluid precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps
  • Consider the risks if you are thinking about tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture are the instruments properly sterilized?
  • If youre having sex with more than one partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including hepatitis C.

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Whos At Risk For Hepatitis C

You might be more likely to get it if you:

  • Inject or have injected street drugs
  • Were born between 1945 and 1965
  • Got clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
  • Received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplants before July 1992
  • Got blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for hepatitis C
  • Are on dialysis

Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. But you can help protect yourself from hepatitis C infection by

  • Not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
  • Wearing gloves if you have to touch another person’s blood or open sores
  • Making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools and unopened ink
  • Not sharing personal items such toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
  • Using a latex condom during sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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