What To Think About
Researchers are working to develop other treatments, including gene therapy and medicines that help control the immune system.
You Can Still Get Hep C Again
Hepatitis C is unlike many viruses you may be familiar with, since you can still become re-infected even after youve been cured. And, unfortunately, there is no vaccine on the horizon.
The antibody you get from hepatitis C is not protective, says Menon. Just because you got it once doesnt mean you cant get it again.
To avoid getting re-infected, its important to take all the steps youd take to avoid the virus in the first place. For example, dont share razors or syringes, and avoid sharing toothbrushes with people whove been diagnosed with hepatitis C. Its also a good idea to ask your partner to be tested for hepatitis C. The risk of sexual transmission is very low, but if your partner has hepatitis C they should get treated as well, says Menon.
Will The Baby Be Infected If The Mother Or Father Has Hepatitis C
The baby’s risk of becoming infected with hepatitis C in the womb varies, depending on whether the parent with hepatitis C is the father or the mother.
If the mother is infected, whether or not the father is infected, there is a 5% chance that the baby will be born with hepatitis C. The risk is the same regardless of whether the birth occurs by vaginal delivery or by cesarean section. The risk is higher if the mother is also living with HIV.
If the father has hepatitis C but the mother does not, the baby cannot become infected because a father cannot pass the virus directly to a baby. If the father first passes the virus to the mother through sex, then the baby possibly could be infected by the mother. However, the chance of the virus being transmitted both from father to mother and then from mother to baby is almost zero.
All children born to HCV-infected women should be tested for HCV infection. Testing is recommended using an antibody-based test at or after 18 months of age. Approximately 25-50 % infants with hepatitis C will clear the infection without any medical help by age 4. For those who become chronically infected, most have no symptoms .
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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.
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.”
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Hepatitis C Management In Primary Care
- A new direct-acting antiviral oral regimen for the treatment of hepatitis C, glecaprevir + pibrentasvir will be subsidised without restriction from 1 February, 2019.
- Treatment with glecaprevir + pibrentasvir is simpler than with Viekira Pak regimens and patients with hepatitis C should now predominantly receive treatment in primary care.
- Glecaprevir + pibrentasvir can be prescribed to patients with hepatitis C virus infection due to any of the HCV genotypes.
- Glecaprevir + pibrentasvir is taken as a once daily regimen of three tablets, for eight weeks, regardless of HCV genotype.
- Glecaprevir + pibrentasvir can be prescribed to patients infected with any HCV genotype, therefore genotype testing prior to initiating treatment is no longer required.
- Ribavirin is not required for patients with genotype 1a infection receiving glecaprevir + pibrentasvir treatment.
- Patients should present prescriptions for glecaprevir + pibrentasvir to an enrolled pharmacy.
- Viekira Pak regimens will be delisted.
- Ledipasvir + sofosbuvir continues to be subsidised for patients with advanced disease.
What Is Autoimmune Hepatitis
The liver is a large organ that sits up under your ribs on the right side of your belly . It helps filter waste from your body, makes bile to help digest food, and stores sugar that your body uses for energy. Autoimmune hepatitis occurs when your bodys infection-fighting system attacks your liver cells. This causes swelling, inflammation and liver damage.
It is a long-term or chronic inflammatory liver disease.
- May occur at any age
- Affects women more than men
- Is often linked to other diseases where the body attacks itself
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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.
How Can I Cope With My Feelings About Having Hepatitis C
Coping with hepatitis C isnt easy. You may feel sad, scared or angry, or you may not believe you have the disease. These feelings are normal, but they shouldnt keep you from living your daily life. If they do or if they last a long time you may be suffering from depression. People who are depressed have most or all of the following symptoms nearly every day, all day, for 2 weeks or longer:
- Feeling sad, hopeless and having frequent crying spells
- Losing interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Feeling guilty, helpless or worthless
- Thinking about death or suicide
- Sleeping too much, or having problems sleeping
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss or gain
- Feeling very tired all the time
- Having trouble paying attention and making decisions
- Having aches and pains that dont get better with treatment
- Feeling restless, irritated and easily annoyed
Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms. Your healthcare provider can help by recommending a support group or a therapist, and/or by prescribing a medicine for you to take.
How Did My Child Get Hepatitis C
HCV spreads through blood. Infection can happen when blood containing the virus enters a healthy persons body. In many cases, how a person got infected is not known for sure. HCV can be passed in the following ways:
From mother to baby during birth.
Through contact with infected blood, such as by touching an open cut or scrape. HCV can also spread if you use an item that has even a tiny amount of an infected persons blood on it. This includes personal care items , and tattoo or drug needles.
Through infected blood products during a transfusion. Careful screening of donated blood makes this type of transmission very rare in the United States.
During dialysis .
Through unprotected sex with an infected person.
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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Hepatitis A Vaccine And International Travel
Who should get the hepatitis A vaccine before traveling internationally?
All unvaccinated people, along with those who have never had hepatitis A, should be vaccinated before traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common. Travelers to urban areas, resorts, and luxury hotels in countries where hepatitis A is common are still at risk. International travelers have been infected, even though they regularly washed their hands and were careful about what they drank and ate. Those who are too young or cant get vaccinated because of a previous, life-threatening reaction to the hepatitis A vaccine or vaccine component should receive immune globulin. Travelers to other countries where hepatitis A does not commonly occur are not recommended to receive hepatitis A vaccine before travel.
How soon before travel should I get the hepatitis A vaccine?
You should get the first dose of hepatitis A vaccine as soon as you plan international travel to a country where hepatitis A is common. The vaccine will provide some protection even if you get vaccinated closer to departure. For older adults , people who are immunocompromised, and people with chronic liver disease or other chronic medical conditions the health-care provider may consider, based on several factors, giving an injection of immune globulin at the same time in different limbs.
What should I do if I am traveling internationally but cannot receive hepatitis A vaccine?
Reduce Your Chance Of Infection
You can reduce your chance of hepatitis B 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
- not sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
- using a latex or polyurethane condom during sex
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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.
When Should I Go And Get Tested
- If you or your partner have been sexually active with other people, both of you should get tested before you have sex together.
- If your partner is having sex with another partner.
- If you know your current or past partner has or had an STI.
- If the condom breaks or you have sex without one.
- If you or your partner have shared needles for drugs, tattooing or piercing, even once.
- If you or your partner have any STI symptoms.
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If you and your partner both get tested and don’t have STI, you’re only protected as long as you remain in a relationship with this same partner. When in doubt, talk to your partner about safer sex and testing, and use a condom and/or dental dam.
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What Causes Autoimmune Hepatitis
Experts dont know what causes autoimmune hepatitis, but it is more likely to show up in people with other autoimmune conditions, including:
- Fluid buildup in the belly
- Rectal bleeding or vomiting blood
The symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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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Condoms And Dental Dams
Most STI can be prevented by using a condom or dental dam during vaginal, anal or oral sex. You can buy condoms or dental dams at drug stores or health clinics without a prescription. The use of pre-lubricated condoms or added personal lubricants can help prevent the risk of a condom breaking.
Other things to think about:
- Check the expiry date on a condom before using one and make sure the packaging and the condom itself don’t have any holes or tears.
- Never use a condom more than once, and don’t use 2 condoms at the same time as that can cause breakage.
- It’s recommended to use lubricants with condoms, but be sure to use the right type. Vaseline and other oil-based lubricants destroy latex.
Treatment Of Relapse Or Non
Sometimes you may need to take a different combination of medicines if your first round of treatment didn’t work very well. If it was not done before, your doctor may do a test to find out which genotype caused the infection. This may help the doctor choose a medicine that is more likely to cure the infection.
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Are There Supplements That Are Good For My Liver
If a person eats a balanced diet, they will normally get enough vitamins and minerals. People with liver disease should avoid taking large amounts of supplements or “mega-vitamins.” This is because the liver has to do extra work to process them. Your provider may put you on a general multivitamin without iron.
Quick Facts On Safer Sex
- Educate yourself and know the risks. All kinds of sex, including oral, vaginal and anal intercourse, and intimate skin-to-skin contact, can transmit infections through body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva, as well as through bacteria.
- You and/or your sexual partner may not know that either of you have an STI and won’t know that you may be spreading it.
- Always use condoms and/or dental dams during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
- If you haven’t already, get vaccinated for HPV and hepatitis B.
- Get tested for STI regularly and before each new sexual partner. Request that your partner do the same.
- Remember that you can get some STI by just touching or kissing an infected area.
- Be aware of your situation. You may take unnecessary risks when impaired by drugs or alcohol. Always have a condom or dental dam accessible in case you’re “caught up in the moment.”
- If you use recreational drugs, or get tattoos, be sure that the needles are sterile and haven’t been used by anyone else already.
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You matter. Your choices matter. You decide what is right for you.
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