Preventing The Spread Of Hepatitis C
There is no vaccine available to prevent a person from being infected with hepatitis C. Recommended behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus include:
- Always use sterile injecting equipment. This can be accessed from your local needle and syringe program service.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, nail files or nail scissors, which can draw blood.
- If you are involved in body piercing, tattooing, electrolysis or acupuncture, always ensure that any instrument that pierces the skin is either single use or has been cleaned, disinfected and sterilised since it was last used.
- If you are a healthcare worker, follow standard precautions at all times.
- Wherever possible, wear single-use gloves if you give someone first aid or clean up blood or body fluids.
- Although hepatitis C is not generally considered to be a sexually transmissible infection in Australia, you may wish to consider safe sex practices if blood is going to be present, or if your partner has HIV infection. You may wish to further discuss this issue and personal risks with your doctor.
Symptoms Of Infection With Hepatitis C
Symptoms of acute infection with hepatitis C
Acute infection is the period when you first contract the virus, during this period most people do not seem to experience any noticeable symptoms.
For the 25-35% of people who do, the symptoms are normally vague and non-specific.They can include: Abdominal pain Nausea and vomiting
About 20% of the people who develop symptoms experience jaundice. This can be seen in the yellowing of the skin and eyes. This is a sign of the livers functions being affected as bilirubin begins to build up in the body. Jaundice is a recognised sign of liver problems and may lead to a test for hepatitis C being suggested.The problem for most people is that they are unaware that they have been infected because of the lack of symptoms. As these symptoms are similar to many other short term infections most people are unlikely to seek medical attention.
And even when they do, most doctors will not necessarily suspect or test for hepatitis C.
Symptoms of chronic infection with hepatitis C
Chronic infection doesn’t mean that you have symptoms, chronic means that the infection is ongoing, that you are living with the virus.
The hepatitis C virus is associated with a wide spectrum of liver disease. This ranges from minor inflammation to cirrhosis, and in certain cases liver cancer.
Pains in the upper part of the abdomen
Dry eyes, irritable bowel and irritable bladder
Do not assume that all of your aches and pains are related to hepatitis.
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.
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Other Signs Of Hepatitis C On Your Skin
Rashes and lesions may be common, but theyre not the only ways that hepatitis C can affect your skin. These are some other possible manifestations of hepatitis C on your skin, which can include:
- General itchy skin, also known as pruritis
- Lichen planus, which are little purple or reddish-purple flat bumps that can develop in a variety of places on your body, including your skin, mouth, genitalia, hair follicles, and nails
- Blisters and sensitive skin as a result of a condition called porphyria cutanea tarda
- Spider angiomas, which look like a spiderweb of thin blood vessels spreading across your skin
- Necrolytic acral erythema, series of dusky-colored skin plaques, which is rare but can be an early sign of hep C infection
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Complications Of Chronic Hepatitis C
Unless successfully treated with medication, chronic Hepatitis C infection can cause other serious health problems, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. However, with recent advances in Hepatitis C treatment we now have higher cure rates, shorter treatment times, and all-oral treatment regimens for most people. If youre at risk for Hepatitis C, speak to your healthcare provider today about getting tested.
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Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C often does not have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged.
This means many people have the infection without realising it.
When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition.
Symptoms can include:
- feeling and being sick
The only way to know for certain if these symptoms are caused by hepatitis C is to get tested.
What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis C
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.
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How Is Hepatitis C Transmitted Or Spread
Hepatitis C is transmitted or spread when the blood from a Hepatitis C-infected person enters the bloodstream of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when screening donated blood and organs for Hepatitis C was not standard in the United States, the disease was commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.
Hepatitis C may be spread if there is a breakdown in the skin or lining of the mouth. Therefore, sharing of toothbrushes, razor blades and nail clippers is not recommended.
Is Hepatitis C contagious?
Hepatitis C transmission happens only through exposure to an infected persons blood. It is not contagious like the common cold. You cannot get, or give, Hepatitis C by:
Whats The Difference Between Acute And Chronic Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease caused by HCV, which is spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids that contain HCV. This disease damages your liver. There are two types of hepatitis C infection: acute and chronic.
Acute hepatitis C is a short-term viral infection. People with acute hepatitis C carry the infection for a small window of time, often just several months . Most people with the acute form of hepatitis C will experience illness and mild symptoms such as fatigue and vomiting within the first six months after exposure. In many cases, the disease causes no symptoms at all.
Acute hepatitis C may improve or resolve without treatment. It leads to chronic infection in 75 to 85 percent of cases. The chronic form may cause long-term problems in your liver, including liver damage and liver cancer.
HCV is spread through direct contact with blood or certain bodily fluids that contain HCV. Its safe to engage in the following activities without worry of transmission:
If your doctor suspects that you have hepatitis C, they will draw blood to check for HCV antibodies. Antibodies are substances your body produces when its fighting an infection. If you have them, your doctor may order a second test to confirm that the virus is still present.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hcv
Many cases of HCV are not found because there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are vague and may seem like the flu. Symptoms may start from two weeks to six months after exposure, though the average is six to seven weeks.
Some people with HCV may have:
- Muscle and joint aches.
- Changes in the color of urine and stool.
- Jaundice . Jaundice may also cause itching.
- Take your medical history.
- Do a physical exam.
- Order blood tests.
- Many blood tests are used to look for HCV, so your doctor may choose to do one or many at once.
- In the past, this was the widely used treatment for HCV.
- Patients stay on these drugs for 2448 weeks.
- It only cures 2040% of patients and is associated with significant side effects.
- These are newer option to care for HCV. They are sometimes called direct-acting antivirals .
- These treatments do not use interferon.
- Patients stay on these for 1214 weeks.
- Most cases on these treatments have a greater than 90% chance of cure.
- Patients on these have fewer side effects, are better tolerated and have much better success rates than earlier treatments.
- These drugs are very high priced and not all health plans cover them.
A variety of drugs that work in different ways are used together to treat HCV so that the virus can be attacked in different ways to increase your chance of a cure. Your gastroenterologist or liver specialist, called ahepatologist, will help guide you through complex treatment options.
What Is The Outlook
Most people with hepatitis A recover without any complications. Once youve had hepatitis A, you cant get it again. Antibodies to the virus will protect you for life.
Some people may be at an increased risk for serious illness from hepatitis A. These include:
acute hepatitis B infections in the United States in 2018.
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Can Hepatitis Be Treated
Today, hepatitis management is applicable through different medications and the blood product intravenous immunoglobulin for temporary immunity. However, specific antiviral effects like a nucleotide polymerase inhibitor work in slowing down the virus. Although there are famous names like Ledipasvir with sofosbuvir and Pegylated interferon and ribavirin, some of these medications arent prescribed anymore. However, modern medical technology is changing chronic liver diseases using oral tablets taken every day for at least two to six months.
Ask your pharmacist or your current liver doctor to know if certain drugs arent verified with FDA or harmful to your health status.
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Treatment For Hepatitis C
The goal of treatment is to clear the virus from the body. If you have acute hepatitis C, you probably wont have symptoms, and the virus will clear on its own without treatment. In the case of chronic hepatitis, your doctor may treat the virus with antiviral medication for 12 to 24 weeks.
Until 2011, there were only two drugs available to treat hepatitis C: pegylated interferon and ribavirin . These drugs were often used in combination with each other.
The drugs currently used to treat hepatitis C include:
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Hepatitis C And Blood Spills
When cleaning and removing blood spills, use standard infection control precautions at all times:
- Cover any cuts or wounds with a waterproof dressing.
- Wear single-use gloves and use paper towel to mop up blood spills.
- Clean the area with warm water and detergent, then rinse and dry.
- Place used gloves and paper towels into a plastic bag, then seal and dispose of them in a rubbish bin.
- Wash your hands in warm, soapy water then dry them thoroughly.
- Put bloodstained tissues, sanitary towels or dressings in a plastic bag before throwing them away.
What Are The Risk Factors
Some people are at an increased risk for contracting HAV, including:
- people traveling to areas of the world where hepatitis A is common
- men who have sex with men
- people who use injectable or noninjectable drugs
- caregivers for those who have hepatitis A
- people who are experiencing homelessness
- people living with a child whos been adopted from an area where hepatitis A is common
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See your GP if you persistently have any of the later symptoms listed, 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 these symptoms mean you definitely have hepatitis C, but its important to get them checked out.
You should also speak to your GP about getting tested if theres a risk youre infected, even if you dont 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 whos at risk of having the infection.
Page last reviewed: 27 October 2021 Next review due: 27 October 2024
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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
- Currently inject drugs
- Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Are on hemodialysis
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Hepatitis C Symptoms Itchy Back
Hepatitis C is a sneaky virus. You may not have any symptoms at all. Most people donât. This is one if the reasons, along with treatability now, that all adults are recommended to get tested. Your doctor could check your liver and see only a little damage. Youre usually not diagnosed until they spot a problem with your liver enzymes after a routine blood test.
How Is Hepatitis C Treated
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The aim of treatment for hepatitis C is to eradicate the virus from the blood completely, and to protect the liver from developing cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Several medications are available to treat hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus has six different types or strains . The type and length of treatment may vary. Some hepatitis strains do not respond to antiviral medications as well as others. Some medications may not be suitable for all patients with hepatitis C, because of the side effects or the patients other medical conditions.
These are the medications approved for treatment of hepatitis C infection:
- Sofosbuvir : Tablet taken once a day. Used in combination with other antiviral drugs.
- Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir : Pill taken once a day for 12 to 24 weeks, depending on how serious the disease is.
- Simeprevir : Capsule taken once a day with other medications called peginterferon alfa and ribavirin
- Combination of paritaprevir/ombitasvir/ritonavir/dasabuvir
- Daclatasvir : Used in combination with other drugs
- Elbasvir/grazoprevir : Tablet taken once a day
- Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir : Tablet taken once a day
- Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir : Three pills a day in one dose
- Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir : Tablet taken once a day
- Ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir : Two tablets once a day in the morning, in combination with ribavirin
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What Hepatitis C Tests Are Available
The diagnosis of hepatitis C requires a blood test. You can get this by visiting your doctor, or you can order your test yourself at home. There are test kits available that allow you to take your own blood sample at home using a fingerprick. For those who prefer not to draw their own blood, you can still order your own test, and then visit a lab to have your blood drawn.
Symptoms Of Hepatitis C In Females: Different Signs In Men And Women
Four million Americans have been infected by Hepatitis C. The main culprit of this disease is the Hepatitis C virus which is a blood-borne virus. Unlike HIV, more people are ending their lives due to this malady. Although HCV has the same effects on each gender, females react differently to it. Therefore, we will discuss the symptoms of hep C in females and how these symptoms differ from the signs of males hep c. In addition, this gender-blind virus is also blind in age and race. So, we will discuss the main factors which differentiate the Hepatitis symptoms in males and females.
The first thing which we should keep under consideration that how Hepatitis C transmitted from one person to another.
Blood Transfusion: As I mentioned earlier that HCV is a blood-borne virus and it can only transmit through blood contact.
Needles of Syringe: If a person is using needles of an infected person, he/she are at high risk.
Tattoo: During getting tattoos on the body, tattoo maker cannot discriminate the person with HCV and chances get higher to be infected with tattoos.
Ordinarily, you cannot diagnose Hep c by symptoms because of late indication of its symptoms. The most affected organ is liver by it. Moreover, it can be prognosticated by a blood test. However, there are several symptoms which may appear with this chronic disease.
Bad Coagulation: Blood clotting becomes difficult in this illness and bleeding becomes easier due to this chronic disease.
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