Tuesday, May 17, 2022

How Does One Catch Hepatitis C

What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis C

How is Hepatitis C spread? — Mayo Clinic

Treatment for hepatitis C is with antiviral medicines. They can cure the disease in most cases.

If you have acute hepatitis C, your health care provider may wait to see if your infection becomes chronic before starting treatment.

If your hepatitis C causes cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Treatments for health problems related to cirrhosis include medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If your hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.

How Do Doctors Treat Hepatitis C

Doctors treat hepatitis C with antiviral medicines that attack the virus and can cure the disease in most cases.

Several newer medicines, called direct-acting antiviral medicines, have been approved to treat hepatitis C since 2013. Studies show that these medicines can cure chronic hepatitis C in most people with this disease. These medicines can also cure acute hepatitis C. In some cases, doctors recommend waiting to see if an acute infection becomes chronic before starting treatment.

Your doctor may prescribe one or more of these newer, direct-acting antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C:

You may need to take medicines for 8 to 24 weeks to cure hepatitis C. Your doctor will prescribe medicines and recommend a length of treatment based on

  • which hepatitis C genotype you have
  • how much liver damage you have
  • whether you have been treated for hepatitis C in the past

Your doctor may order blood tests during and after your treatment. Blood tests can show whether the treatment is working. Hepatitis C medicines cure the infection in most people who complete treatment.

Hepatitis C medicines may cause side effects. Talk with your doctor about the side effects of treatment. Check with your doctor before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

For safety reasons, talk with your doctor before using dietary supplements, such as vitamins, or any complementary or alternative medicines or medical practices.

Why Should I Get Treated

Hepatitis C can be fatal when left untreated.

Untreated hepatitis C can lead to scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis.

A small number of people with cirrhosis will go on to get liver failure, the only treatment for which is a liver transplant. A small proportion of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer.

Don’t Miss: What Lab Test For Hepatitis C

What Can I Do If I Think I Have Hepatitis C

A doctor or sexual health clinician can test you to see if you have hepatitis C. If you do, effective treatment with fewer side effects than the older medicine is available and you can discuss how to avoid infecting your sexual partners or people you live with.

It can take three to six months before the blood test for hepatitis C will be able to detect signs of infection in your blood. For people with HIV who may be immunocompromised, the antibody may not be detectable and it may be necessary to request an RNA test which detects the virus.

How Do You Get Hepatitis B

Curing Hepatitis C [Video]

Hepatitis B is really contagious. Its transmitted through contact with semen , vaginal fluids, and blood. You can get it from:

  • having vaginal, anal, or oral sex

  • sharing toothbrushes and razors

  • sharing needles for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.

  • getting stuck with a needle that has the Hep B virus on it.

Hepatitis B can also be passed to babies during birth if their mother has it.

Hepatitis B isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get hepatitis B from sharing food or drinks or using the same fork or spoon. Hepatitis B is also not spread through kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding.

Recommended Reading: What Is Hepatic Function Panel

Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C

Doctors usually recommend one-time screening of all adults ages 18 to 79 for hepatitis C. Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems.

Tattooing And Body Piercing

Moderate to low risk

Tattooing and body piercing can be a risk because they use needles so can spread infected blood. It is extremely unlikely that you would get hep C at a professional tattooist in Australia because they use effective infection control procedures and sterile equipment. However, in situations where it might be hard to sterilise equipment properly, such as prison and amateur tattooing, there is a much higher risk .

Having tattoos or piercings overseas, in countries where rules about health standards may be poor or not exist, or by workers who may not have good knowledge about sterilisation and infection control can increase your risk of getting hep C or another blood borne virus . The rate of hep C among the people living there may also be higher in developing countries, so the risk of equipment coming into contact with infected blood also increases.

Make sure body artists are operating out of clean, established business premises and are registered with the local council. You can check that they know the Code of Practice for Skin Penetration Procedures and can talk about it with you.

Don’t Miss: What Is Hepatitis B Surface Antibody

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.

How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Hepatitis C

How to treat hepatitis C

Now that you know how you get hepatitis C, you can take steps to protect yourself from the virus. For instance:

  • Avoid sharing needles or other paraphernalia related to intravenous drugs.
  • Wear gloves if youre a health care worker or otherwise exposed to needles or potentially infected blood.
  • Use barrier methodsaka condomsoutside of sexually monogamous relationships.
  • Dont share toothbrushes or other dental equipment, nail clippers, or shaving tools.
  • If youre getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the artist or piercer uses sterile ink and needles.

If you have the hepatitis C virus, you can prevent passing it along to others by following those same steps, in addition to:

  • Covering any open sores or wounds.
  • Telling all your health and dental care providers you have the virus.
  • Avoiding donating blood.

Read Also: What Does Hepatitis B Come From

Baby Boomers Are Especially Vulnerable

“The hepatitis C virus didn’t have a name or a screening test until in 1989,” Reau says. “That means people born between 1945 and 1965, the group referred to as ‘baby boomers,’ are at highest risk of infection. They grew up before health care facilities started taking standard precautions, like not sharing vials of medicine among patients and requiring staff to wear gloves.”

The CDC reports that baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults, accounting for 75% of those living with the disease.

These are some other reasons you may be at risk:

  • You have engaged in high-risk behaviors like IV drug use or unprotected sex
  • Your biological mother has/had hepatitis C
  • You received blood transfusions, an organ transplant or dialysis before 1989
  • You were or are currently incarcerated

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hcv Infection

Hepatitis C can be a “silent but deadly” infection. Most people with HCV have no symptoms. But even without symptoms, they can develop health problems decades later and can still pass the disease to others.

When symptoms do happen , they can be similar to those of hepatitis A and hepatitis B and include:

  • jaundice
  • fever
  • nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite
  • belly pain
  • joint pain

Also Check: Should I Get Hepatitis B Vaccine

What Are The Side Effects Of Drug Treatment

Common side effects for some treatments for hepatitis C may include the following:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • depression

Side effects are usually worst during the first few weeks of treatment. They become less severe over time. If you are having trouble dealing with the side effects of your medicine, talk to your doctor. He or she can suggest ways to relieve some of the side effects. For example, if your medicine makes you feel nauseated, it may help to take it right before you go to sleep.

How Easy Is It To Transmit Hep C

What are some causes of Hepatitis C?

Heres the good news: Its not easy to transmit hepatitis C without blood exposure, so you really dont have to worry about hugging or sitting close or anything like that, Dr. Fox says. Hepatitis C is in body fluids other than blood, but its harder to pass it without blood exchange.

That said, if you or someone close to you has hepatitis C, certain precautions can keep you extra-safe. For example, if your partner has hep C, its pretty hard to get it while doing normal activities, but you might consider not sharing things that could potentially have blood on it, like nail clippers and toothbrushes, says John Goff, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and member of the American Liver Foundations National Medical Advisory Committee.

Other ways you cant get hep C? Breastfeeding, kissing, coughing, sneezing, eating or drinking, according to the CDC. Whew!

Read Also: Interferon Treatment For Hepatitis C

Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented Or Avoided

The only way to prevent hepatitis C is to avoid coming in contact with an infected persons blood. Always have protected sex . Dont do intravenous drugs. Dont share personal care items with a person who has hepatitis C. If youre a health care worker, follow your workplaces standard safety practices.

Stages Of Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus affects people in different ways and has several stages:

  • Incubation period. This is the time between first exposure to the start of the disease. It can last anywhere from 14 to 80 days, but the average is 45
  • Acute hepatitis C. This is a short-term illness that lasts for the first 6 months after the virus enters your body. After that, some people who have it will get rid of, or clear, the virus on their own.
  • Chronic hepatitis C. For most people who get hepatitis C — up to 85% — the illness moves into a long-lasting stage . This is called a chronic hepatitis C infection and can lead to serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
  • Cirrhosis. This disease leads to inflammation that, over time, replaces your healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It usually takes about 20 to 30 years for this to happen, though it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV.
  • Liver cancer. Cirrhosis makes liver cancer more likely. Your doctor will make sure you get regular tests because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages.

Learn more about the stages and progression of hepatitis C.

Don’t Miss: Hepatitis C And Liver Disease

Questions For Your Doctor

When you visit the doctor, you may want to ask questions to get the information you need to manage your hepatitis C. If you can, have a family member or friend take notes. You might ask:

  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • Are there any medications that might help?
  • What are the side effects of the medications you might prescribe?
  • How do I know when I should call the doctor?
  • How much exercise can I get, and is it all right to have sex?
  • Which drugs should I avoid?
  • What can I do to prevent the disease from getting worse?
  • How can I avoid spreading hepatitis C to others?
  • Are my family members at risk for hepatitis C?
  • Should I be vaccinated against other types of hepatitis?
  • How will you keep tabs on the condition of my liver?
  • What Causes Hepatitis C

    How Does Hepatitis C Hurt Your Liver? | WebMD

    The hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood. Contact can occur by

    • sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
    • getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
    • being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not kept sterilefree from all viruses and other microorganismsand were used on an infected person before they were used on you
    • having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
    • using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
    • being born to a mother with hepatitis C
    • having unprotected sex with an infected person

    You cant get hepatitis C from

    • being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
    • drinking water or eating food
    • hugging an infected person
    • shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
    • sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
    • sitting next to an infected person

    A baby cant get hepatitis C from breast milk.18

    Read Also: Is Hepatitis C Contagious After Being Cured

    Can You Get Hep C More Than Once

    Some people think hepatitis C is a one-and-done viruskind of like the chickenpox. But it is possible to get it more than once in your life, Dr. Fox says. If somebody had the infection, was cured of it, then goes back to the same behavior that got them infected in the first place, they can get re-infected, she explains. The chance of re-infection is lower though, suggesting that you may develop some degree of immunity after your first infection.

    Still though, hepatitis C can lead to severe liver damage if left untreated, so if youre engaging in behaviors that put you at risk of getting or transmitting hepatitis C, talk with your doctor. A physician can answer your specific concerns and let you know whether or how often you should get screened. Thankfully, curing hepatitis C is easier than ever thanks to new, highly effective drugsbut better yet, you can avoid getting it in the first place!

    How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis C Infection

    If you dont have hepatitis C, 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 persons 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

    Hepatitis C can spread from person to person during sex, but the chances are low. People who have multiple sex partners, have HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, or who engage in rough or anal sex have a higher chance of getting hepatitis C. Talk with your doctor about your risk of getting hepatitis C through sex and about safe sex practices, such as using a latex or polyurethane condom to help prevent the spread of hepatitis C.

    If you had hepatitis C in the past and your body fought off the infection or medicines cured the infection, you can get hepatitis C again. Follow the steps above, and talk with your doctor about how to protect yourself from another hepatitis C infection.

    If you think you may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus, see your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage.

    You May Like: Hepatitis C Drugs In India

    Could I Give Hepatitis C To Someone Else

    Yes, once you have hepatitis C, you can always give it to someone else. If you have hepatitis C, you cannot donate blood. You should avoid sharing personal items like razors and toothbrushes. It is very rare to pass hepatitis C in these ways, but it can happen. Always use a condom when you have sex. If you have hepatitis C, your sexual partners should be tested to see if they also have it.

    Talk to your doctor first if you want to have children. The virus isnt spread easily from a mother to her unborn baby. But it is possible, so you need to take precautions. However, if youre trying to have a baby, do not have sex during your menstrual cycle. The hepatitis C virus spreads more easily in menstrual blood.

    What Is Viral Hepatitis

    Hepatitis b by Sidny Flores

    Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of your liver that’s caused by a virus. There are five types, but the most common ones in the U.S. are hepatitis A, B, and C. All of them affect your liver. Some of the symptoms are similar, but they have different treatments.

    Hepatitis A. This type won’t lead to long-term infection and usually doesn’t cause any complications. Your liver heals in about 2 months. You can prevent it with a vaccine.

    Hepatitis B. Most people recover from this type in 6 months. Sometimes, though, it causes a long-term infection that could lead to liver damage. Once you’ve got the disease, you can spread the virus even if you don’t feel sick. You won’t catch it if you get a vaccine.

    Hepatitis C. Many people with this type don’t have symptoms. About 80% of those with the disease get a long-term infection. It can sometimes lead to cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver. There’s no vaccine to prevent it.

    Read Also: Is Hepatitis B The Same As Hiv

    Popular Articles
    Related news