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What Do You Get Hepatitis C From

Can I Drink Alcohol Once In A While If I Have Hepatitis C

What to know about 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:

  • No one knows exactly what amount of alcohol is “safe” when you have hepatitis C. Some small amounts of alcohol may be safe while you have hepatitis C and have mild damage in the liver, but if you have cirrhosis, then no amount of alcohol is safe and you should not drink at all.
  • All forms of alcohol can be damaging. In other words, beer and wine are not “safer” than whiskey.
  • If you have severe scarring , then you should not drink any alcohol at all.
  • If you are awaiting a transplant, you also cannot drink any alcohol at all.
  • 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.

    Ive Never Used Iv Drugs Or Been Stuck With A Dirty Needle How Did I Get Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C is usually spread through direct contact with the blood of a person who has the disease. It can also be transmitted by needles used for tattooing or body piercing. In rare cases, hepatitis C can be passed from a mother to her unborn baby. This virus can be transmitted through sex and sharing razors or toothbrushes. These occurrences are also rare. Many times, the cause of hepatitis C is never found.

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    Autoimmune Hepatitis Vs Hepatitis C

    Having nothing to do with hepatitis A, B or C, autoimmune hepatitis is caused by an autoimmune reaction that tells the body to attack its liver. Although it is a distinct condition from hepatitis C, people sometimes confuse the two as symptoms do overlap . The causes of the diseases are quite different: AIH may have a genetic component, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases meanwhile, hepatitis C is caused by a viral infection with no known genetic component.

    Related: 10 Rare Autoimmune Diseases That Dont Get Enough Attention

    Getting Tested Is The Only Way To Know If You Have Hepatitis C

    Quick hep C screening launched at London Drugs pharmacies

    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
    • Are pregnant
    • Currently inject drugs
    • Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
    • Have HIV
    • Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
    • Are on hemodialysis

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    Who Can Be Treated For Hepatitis C

    Treatment decisions should be made by both you and your provider. Current treatments for hepatitis C are very successful and can cure most people of the virus.

  • Treatment regimens exist for all genotypes.
  • Treatment regimens exist for HCV-HIV coinfection.
  • Treatment regimens exist for all stages of disease .
  • Treatment regimens exist for patients who have taken treatment in the past but were not successful.
  • Is There A Hepatitis C Vaccine

    Prevention truly is your best medicine for hepatitis C because unlike its cousins, hepatitis A and B, hepatitis C has no vaccine. Thats not for lack of trying: There are currently clinical trials underway to find a vaccine, and in a study published last year in Science Advances, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, showed proof of concept for the development of a vaccine. But despite this progress, not every expert is convinced a vaccine is in the near offing. There are people who have tried to make a hepatitis C vaccine for 20 years and couldnt do it, says Dr. Dieterich. This is a virus that mutates a lot.

    In other words, going on the offense with a commitment to healthy behaviors is going to be your best defense against hepatitis C. You can set yourself up for a healthy future, too, by taking advantage of the May 19 National Hepatitis Testing Day and getting yourself checked. Remember, the disease is curablebut only if you know you have it. Go get tested for free today: You literally have nothing to lose.

    Lagging on important health checkups? Let this Checklist of Annual Physical Exams for Women be your cheat sheet.

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    If I Get Tested For Hepatitis C And The Result Is Positive Do I Need Any Other Tests To Be Sure

    When your provider wants to test you for hepatitis C, the first test you will have is the hepatitis C antibody . If this test is positive, it means you were infected with the hepatitis C virus at some point in the past. But this test alone is not enough. You will still need another test to confirm if you still have the hepatitis C virus in your system. About 1 out of 5 people who get infected with hepatitis C will be able get the rid of the virus on their own, without treatment, very early after their infection. So some people will have a positive antibody test, but a negative HCV RNA .

    So, the second test that your provider should request is called hepatitis C virus RNA or HCV RNA test. There are several different tests available to check the HCV RNA. What matters is that if the RNA test is positive, then you do have chronic hepatitis C virus infection. If the RNA test is negative, then you may need to have this test again to be sure. If these RNA tests are all negative, then you no longer have hepatitis C infection and do not have chronic hepatitis C.

    If your hepatitis C antibody test is positive, be sure that you get tested for hepatitis C RNA to find out whether the infection has become chronic or whether it has cleared. If the infection has become chronic, there are treatments your provider can prescribe to fight off the hepatitis C virus and keep your liver healthy.

    Hepatitis C Symptoms & Treatment

    What you need to know about Hepatitis C: causes, detection and cure.

    FAST FACTS:

    • Hepatitis C is found in infected blood. It is also rarely found in semen and vaginal fluids.

    • Hepatitis C is mainly passed on through using contaminated needles and syringes or sharing other items with infected blood on them. It can also be passed on through unprotected sex, especially when blood is present.

    • You can prevent hepatitis C by never sharing needles and syringes, practising safer sex, and avoiding unlicensed tattoo parlours and acupuncturists.

    • Hepatitis C will often not have any noticeable symptoms, but a simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have hepatitis C.

    • In the early stages, some peoples bodies can clear a hepatitis C infection on their own, others may develop chronic hepatitis C and will need to take antiviral treatment to cure the infection.

    • Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can lead to permanent liver damage.

    Hepatitis C is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver.

    Its mainly passed on through contaminated needles, either from injecting drugs or from needle stick injuries in healthcare settings. It can also be transmitted sexually, especially during anal sex or other types of sex that may involve blood.

    Some groups are more at risk of getting hepatitis C than others, including people who use drugs, people in prisons, men who have sex with men, health workers and people living with HIV.

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    How Can I Make A Difference For People With Hepatitis C

    Anyone can help raise awareness about this widespread disease. Citizens can write letters to their state representatives or local newspapers and get involved in volunteer efforts with liver disease or Veteran-affiliated organizations . Speaking at support groups and sharing your experience is also a good way to help others with HCV.

    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.

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    If I Dont Like How People Are Treating Me Because I Have Hepatitis C What Can I Do

    Some people you tell about your hepatitis C may not react the way you would hope. This can make you feel bad. Nobody has the right to judge you because you have hepatitis C.

    It is against the law for someone to treat you differently, or discriminate against you, because you have an illness or a disability.

    Remember that you, and everyone else, have the right to healthcare. You may find that some doctors do not want to treat your hepatitis C if you use street drugs. But treatment guidelines are clear, people who use street drugs can be treated for hepatitis C.

    Think about joining a support group

    • to help you deal with having hepatitis C
    • if others are treating you differently
    • to meet other people with hepatitis C

    Some support groups meet in person and some meet online.

    If your problems are affecting your life, such as your ability to work or get proper care, you may want to talk to someone who can help with your rights, such as at your local human rights tribunal. See Where can I get more information about hepatitis C? for information on how to find a tribunal near you.

    You may want to give some information about hepatitis C to certain people in your life or ask someone else to give it to them. Learning more about hepatitis C can help your friends or family members to be more open and to give you the emotional comfort or other help you may need.

    Questions For Your Doctor

    Know The ABC

    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?
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    Sometimes The Infection Goes Away On Its Own

    Acute hepatitis is C is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after being exposed to the virus. Like the human papillomavirus , early acute hepatitis C can clear on its own without treatment this happens about 25% of the time.

    However, it’s more likely that the virus will remain in your body longer than six months, at which point it’s considered to be chronic hepatitis C infection.

    “Being younger or a woman tends to be a factor in whether the virus clears on its own, and genetics may play a role,” Reau says. “But we can’t determine with certainty which people are certain to clear the infection and which aren’t.”

    How Should I Take Care Of Myself If I Have Hepatitis C

    Good health habits are essential for those who have hepatitis C. You should especially avoid alcohol and medicines and drugs that can put stress on the liver. You should eat a healthy diet and start exercising regularly. Your family doctor can help you plan a diet that is healthy and practical.

    Talk to your doctor about any medicines that you are taking, including over-the-counter medicine. Many medicines, including acetaminophen , are broken down by the liver. Because of this, they may increase the speed of liver damage. You should also limit alcohol use. It speeds the progression of liver diseases like hepatitis C. An occasional alcoholic drink may be okay, but check with your doctor first.

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    What Happens In Your Body With Hep C

    Once the virus enters your bloodstream, it heads for your liver. Hepatitis C is a viral infection, and its a virus that lives primarily in the liver, says Dr. Goff. The reason it causes trouble is our immune system tries to get rid of it, but the virus mutates quite quickly, so it keeps alluding being caught. The liver gets caught in the crossfire.

    Over time, the chronic infection can lead to serious liver scarring and damage, increasing the risk of life-threatening liver failure and cancer, Dr. Fox says.

    What Foods Should I Avoid

    How do you get hepatitis A?

    Everyone should avoid eating a lot of fat, cholesterol, salt and processed sugar, even if their liver is healthy. In addition, those with HCV should limit or avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol will speed up liver damage.

    Eating properly can help decrease some of the symptoms of Hepatitis C, like feeling tired and sick. Drink lots of water for general health benefits. HCV is not a digestive disease diet will not affect the disease. Your provider may put you on a special diet if you have advanced liver disease.

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    Questions To Ask Your Doctor

    • Do I need treatment?
    • What treatment is best for me?
    • What medicines should I take?
    • Are there any medicines I should avoid?
    • How can I cope with the side effects of treatment?
    • Is there a therapist I can talk to?
    • How long will my treatment last?
    • Can hepatitis C be cured?
    • Are organ transplants and blood transfusions safe?
    • Is it safe for me to get pregnant?

    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.

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    How To Prevent Hepatitis C

    Cured of hepatitis C, however, doesnt mean immune. Hepatitis C is not a one-and-done illness like, say, the chickenpox. If you engage in the same behaviors that led to your hepatitis C infection the first time, you are likely to find yourself back in the same predicament.

    Prevention, then, is all about avoiding that list of things that cause the viral infection. That means being super cautious with any activity that involves blood contact, including not sharing needles if you use drugs, avoiding tattoos and piercings at places that do not practice proper hygiene with the equipment, and only using your own personal items like razors and toothbrushes at home. Safe sex is recommended .

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