Keep Personal Items Personal
Any tools or implements that may have a bit of blood on them from infected people are potential sources of hepatitis B or C transmission. Toothbrushes, nail clippers, razors, needles, and washcloths may all contain trace amounts of blood that can transmit infection. Keep personal items such as these to yourself and never use personal items that belong to others.
Undercooked And Raw Shellfish
Shellfish are animals that filter the water from their surroundings. Because of this, they can become contaminated with hepatitis A virus if they are grown in polluted waters. To be safe, cook shellfish thoroughly before eating it. Undercooked shellfish like oysters, mussels, and clams may harbor and transmit hepatitis A. You may prefer the taste of raw oysters, but cooked shellfish really is safer. Protect your health and skip the raw oyster bar.
How Does Hepatitis C Progress
When someone is first infected with hepatitis C, most likely they have no symptoms and are unaware. Occasionally people experience fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness or sometimes having a yellow color in their skin or eyes. Although having any symptoms at all is rare, if they do occur, they usually go away within a few weeks.
Around 15-25% of people who are infected will spontaneously fight off the virus on their own and they will not have a chronic hepatitis C infection and no long term damage occurs.
But around 75-85% of people will develop chronic infection. Most of the time, people with chronic hepatitis C have no symptoms at the time of infection and no symptoms for years or even decades of chronic infection. The virus will be with them until they are successfully treated with hepatitis C medications.
Around 10-20% of people with chronic infection will slowly have gradual damage in the liver over years and will eventually develop cirrhosis . This can take 20 years or more from the time of the initial infection.
Cirrhosis is the replacement of liver cells with permanent scar tissue. Cirrhosis can lead to problems such as bleeding from veins in the esophagus, fluid buildup in the belly, and damaged brain function.Approximately 15% of people with cirrhosis will develop liver cancer during their lifetime. Drinking excessively can double the chance of liver cancer in people infected with HCV.
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Are There Supplements That Are Bad For My Liver
Taking too many vitamin and mineral supplements may do more harm than good to a damaged liver.
Treatment For Alcoholic Liver Disease
If you haven’t reached the cirrhosis stage yet, the liver damage may heal if you stop drinking alcohol. Those who are alcohol dependent may require professional treatment to break their addiction.
If you have cirrhosis, your healthcare provider will discuss how to manage your specific complications. Some patients at this late stage will require a liver transplant.
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Can You Get A Vaccine To Prevent Hepatitis C
Vaccines are a way to expose your body to a virus before you encounter the live virus naturally. A vaccine contains traces of a dead virus, so your body can form a memory of the virus. Your body then remembers how to attack and destroy the virus if you ever come into contact with it.
There isnt a vaccine for hepatitis C at this time. Hepatitis C has many different subtypes and strains, so creating a vaccine that protects against all the different types is complicated. Vaccines are available for both hepatitis A and B, but one for hepatitis C hasnt been approved.
If you have hepatitis C, your doctor may suggest you get the vaccine for both hepatitis A and B. These two types of viruses cause liver damage, so the added protection is a smart idea.
Screening For Gastroesophageal Varices
Among persons with cirrhosis, gastroesophageal varices develop at a rate of approximately 8% per year, and varices often develop without initially causing any symptoms or bleeding. All patients with cirrhosis should undergo screening for gastroesophageal varices with an upper endoscopy to identify those individuals who may benefit from taking a nonselective beta-blocker for prophylaxis. The subsequent management is based on the findings at endoscopy and is discussed in detail in Module 3, in the topic review Screening for Varices and Prevention of Bleeding.
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What Are Genotypes And What Do They Mean
Viruses have genes, too. The genotype of virus you have can be one of six different groups, or genotypes. Most patients with hepatitis C in the United States have genotype 1a or 1b, but in other parts of the world, other genotypes are more common.
There isn’t a “better” or “worse” genotype to have. In the past , genotype 1 was the most difficult to successfully cure but this is no longer the case. All the new direct-acting antiviral medicines work extremely well in treating all genotypes. Sometimes genotype 3 is a little harder to cure, but in general, all genotypes now have extremely high likelihoods of being cured with hepatitis C treatment.
Contagious And Incubation Periods
The incubation periodâthe time it takes for symptoms to appear after the hepatitis C virus has entered your bodyâis from 2 weeks to 6 months. But not all people have symptoms when they are first infected.
You can spread the virus to someone else at any time after you are infected, even if you don’t have symptoms.
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How Can I Cover Medication Costs
New therapies called direct-acting antivirals are effective and can achieve cures of over 90%. Because these new therapies are very new, they remain very expensive. As such, drug coverage from both government and private companies may require that your liver disease has progressed to a certain stage before they are willing to cover the cost of these drugs.
Talk with your healthcare provider about financial support that may be available.
Below are useful resources when looking for financial assistance:Private health insurance or drug plansIf you have private health insurance or a drug plan at work, you may be able to have the medication paid through your plan. Please consult your private health insurance or drug plan provider to see if your drug is covered.
Publicly funded plansEach provincial and territorial government offers a drug benefit plan for eligible groups. Some are income-based universal programs. Most have specific programs for population groups that may require more enhanced coverage for high drug costs. These groups include seniors, recipients of social assistance, and individuals with diseases or conditions that are associated with high drug costs. For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry, or click on the appropriate link below.
Available Patient Assistance Programs for Hepatitis C treatment Holkira Pak Maviret
MerckCare Hepatitis C Program 1 872-5773 Zepatier
Is It Safe To Take Aspirin Or Tylenol If I Have Hepatitis C
Tylenol is an over-the-counter pain killer. It can be harmful in high doses. If you have hepatitis or liver disease, then you can take Tylenol, but no more than 2,000 mg total over 24 hours. In general, this could be one 500 mg tablet every 6 hours, at the most. Acetaminophen is also included as an ingredient in some opiate medications and in some over-the-counter cold/flu medications, so please be aware of the dose of acetaminophen you may be taking from some combination medicines.
Aspirin, ibuprofen , naproxen , and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , can be harmful if you have cirrhosis. They are safe in hepatitis patients who do not have cirrhosis. But, if a patient has cirrhosis, then NSAIDs cannot be taken at all. If you are not sure, always check with your provider.
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Traveling With Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C wont prevent you from traveling, but going away on vacation can be challenging if youre managing medications or dealing with fatigue.
Before you leave home, compile a list of pertinent medical information just in case. This includes a copy of your current prescriptions, your doctors name and number, and emergency contact information, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Keep this information in your wallet.
Bring enough medication for the entire trip, and identify pharmacies in your destination city before leaving home, in case something happens with your medication, suggests Adalja. Also, never pack your medication in a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on luggage, advises the CDC.
You might get sick while away, so contact your health insurance company to see if your policy covers urgent care or emergency room visits in a different state. U.S. health insurance policies dont typically provide coverage outside the country, so consider travelers insurance if youre traveling abroad.
What Does It Mean When Different Types Of Blood Tests For Hepatitis C Give Different Results
The first test your provider probably will perform is called an “antibody” test. A positive result means that you were exposed to the hepatitis C virus at some point in your life.
If the result is positive, your provider will perform a second test called hepatitis C virus RNA to see if the virus is still in your body. If the RNA test result is positive, then you have chronic hepatitis C infection.
So what does it mean if you have a positive result for the first test but a negative result for the second?
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Scientists Discover Hepatitis C Virus Can Remain Infectious Outside Of The Body For Up To 6 Weeks
Dr. Ronald ValdiserriA recent study by researchers from the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health revealed that the hepatitis C virus can remain infectious for up to 6 weeks on surfaces at room temperatureresulting in a much longer period for potential transmission than was previously appreciated. Prior to this study, scientists believed that HCV could survive for up to four days on surfaces outside of the body. These findings have implications for the safety of patients and workers in healthcare settings as well as for reducing viral hepatitis transmission associated with drug useboth of which are priority areas outlined in the national Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.
Our findings clearly demonstrate that strict infection control practices and universal precautions are needed in the clinical setting to avoid contact with infectious agents such as HCV that can survive on surfaces, noted study co-author Professor Robert Heimer of the Yale School of Public Health in a release announcing the study findings. The implications go beyond the clinic to the risk environment of people who use syringes outside of medical care settings. Unsafe practices, such as sharing of syringes by people who inject drugs or careless handling of human blood during home delivery of intravenous medications, can lead to HCV transmission.
Implications for Preventing Healthcare-Associated HCV Transmission
Dr. Jag H. Khalsa
Surveillance For Hepatocellular Carcinoma
The development of cirrhosis is the single most important risk factor for developing hepatocellular carcinoma . Accordingly, all persons with cirrhosis should undergo surveillance for HCC with hepatic ultrasound every 6 months. For patients with chronic HCV infection and cirrhosis, surveillance for HCC should continue after treatment for HCV, even if the individual obtained a sustained virologic response. Some experts also recommend surveillance for HCC in persons with chronic HCV infection and Metavir stage F3 although the data in support of screening in this subpopulation is limited.
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What To Consider Before Joining A Clinical Trial
Before signing up for a clinical trial, the NIH recommends asking the following questions: What is the purpose and length of the study? Will you have to travel to a different state? If so, are you responsible for your own transportation, hotels, and meals? Its also important to know the risks associated with participating. You may have side effects from treatment, some severe.
Mortality And Survival Rates
If you are diagnosed with advanced cirrhosis of the liver you will be assessed to predict your short-term prognosis. The 30-day mortality rate for alcoholic hepatitis has a wide range from zero to 50% and there are scoring models to assess individual prognosis based on your laboratory test results.
One scoring system for cirrhosis is the Child-Turcotte-Pugh system. It can be interpreted with these survival rates:
- 5 to 6 points : one-year survival 100%, two-year survival 85%
- 7 to 9 points : one-year survival 80%, two-year survival 60%
- 10 to 15 points : one-year survival 45%, two-year survival 35%
One large factor in mortality is whether the person discontinues alcohol. Overall, the five-year survival is 60% for those who stop drinking and less than 30% in those who continue to drink.
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Distinguishing Compensated Versus Decompensated Cirrhosis
Prognosis and survival are markedly better in persons with compensated cirrhosis than in those with decompensated cirrhosis and . In addition, the presence of decompensated cirrhosis can have major implications regarding management and prevention of cirrhosis-related complications, as well as the potential need for a referral for liver transplantation evaluation. In general, any person with decompensated cirrhosis should receive evaluation and medical care by a hepatologist or liver diseases specialist. Some experts have proposed a 4-stage cirrhosis classification system that risk stratifies individuals according to the presence of ascites, esophageal varices, and variceal bleeding to differentiate and stage compensated and decompensated disease .
Can I Drink Alcohol Once In A While If I Have Hepatitis C
Alcohol can clearly contribute to worsening liver disease. You must discuss with your health care provider if any amount of alcohol is safe for you.
Alcohol can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. If you have any underlying liver condition, such as hepatitis C or hepatitis B or damage from long-term alcohol use, your liver will be more sensitive to alcohol. When you have hepatitis C virus, alcohol on top of the hepatitis C can cause the inflammation and scarring to be worse, and overall damage to the liver may happen much faster when you drink alcohol.
Here is some helpful information about alcohol and hepatitis:
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Is It True That If You Get A Piercing Or Tattoo Youll Get Hepatitis C
Even licensed, commercial tattoo studios can have spotty hygiene and cleaning practices. If the equipment the tattoo artist or piercer uses is clean and sterile, you dont have an increased risk of getting hepatitis C.
If the equipment looks less then pristine or you have any hesitations after meeting with the artist, reconsider your choice, and look for a more sterile alternative.
very rare . This statistic is based on heterosexual partners in monogamous sexual relationships.
Your risk for contracting hepatitis C through a sexual encounter is higher if you have multiple partners, engage in rough sex, or already have an STD.
Today, most people are infected with hepatitis C after sharing dirty needles or other paraphernalia for drug use. In rare cases, you can contract hepatitis C by using a tool that has an infected persons blood on it, such as toothbrushes and razors.
When To Seek Medical Advice
See your GP if you persistently have any of the later symptoms above, or if they keep returning. They may recommend having a blood test that can check for hepatitis C. Read more about diagnosing hepatitis C.
None of the symptoms above mean you definitely have hepatitis C, but it’s important to get them checked out.
You should also speak to your GP about getting tested if there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms. This particularly includes people who inject drugs or have done so in the past.
Read about the causes of hepatitis C for more information about who’s at risk of having the infection.
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