How to Avoid the Hepatitis C Virus

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is believed that the hepatitis C virus was first identified in 1989. It was previously connected to blood transfusions; however, it was classified as non-B, non-A Hepatitis since the virus was not recognized. Today, we know that there are a variety of genetic forms (genotypes) associated with the Hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis C is treatable and even cured. Most people suffering from HCV are now cured by taking a single pill a day for 8-12 weeks. The new drugs are generally tolerated. It is essential to visit your doctor to discuss the treatment options available to you for treatment for HCV. 

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?

The majority of people with Hepatitis C do not show any symptoms. Approximately 80 percent of people don’t experience any signs of illness until they first get the virus. However, between two weeks and six months later, after the infection has entered your bloodstream, it might observe:

  • Jaundice (a condition that causes yellow eyes and skin)
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gray or pale stools

The majority of cases are relatively mild and last only several weeks. Sometimes, your body will combat the infection itself, and you may not require medical attention for acute hepatitis.

If you don’t show any signs, you may not even be aware that you have the disease. You can transmit the virus to other people, even if you don’t show symptoms.

During the chronic phase ( 6 months after infection), hepatitis C usually progresses silently, with no symptoms during the first 10-20 years. Signs of chronic hepatitis C include:

  • depression or anxiety
  • persistent tiredness
  • trouble in remembering or concentrating on things 
  • mood changes
  • unexplained weight loss
  • a general feeling of unwellness
  • joint and muscle aches and pains
  • Intense itching
  • Kidney failure

How Do You Get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C can be transmitted when body fluids or blood infected with the hepatitis C virus are introduced into your bloodstream by contact with an affected person.

Before reliable tests of blood for HCV were created (around 1992), most people contracted HCV C through blood products and blood transfusions. Today, when blood and blood products are examined for HCV and HCV, it does not have to be the usual way to get sick.

Nowadays, people typically contract hep C through injection needles in conjunction with usage. Infected women can pass the infection on to their infants at birth. There is also the possibility to contract Hepatitis C from an affected person by sexual contact, a mishap needlestick that is contaminated or a medical instrument that is not properly sterilized or acupuncture, piercing or tattooing instruments.

You can be exposed to the virus from:

  • Sharing items, like razors or toothbrushes
  • Sharing injection drugs and needles
  • Organ transplants
  • Having sex, especially if you have HIV, another STD, several partners, or have rough sex.
  • Childbirth (the person giving birth can pass the virus to the baby)
  • Getting a tattoo or a piercing with unclean equipment.

You won’t transmit by:

  • Hugging, kissing or touching
  • Sharing food or drink
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Breastfeeding (unless nipples are cracked and bleeding)

What Are the Complications of Hepatitis C?

Around 75-85 percent of those who suffer from it suffer from a long-term illness known as chronic hep C. If the condition is not treated, it can result in:

Is hepatitis C curable?

Both acute and chronic hep C infections can often be completely cured. (But you can still contract the virus again.)

Treatment, which includes antiviral medicines, can end hep C in 95 percent all the time. Medical professionals say you’re healed if tests don’t reveal the virus in your blood for 12 weeks after the treatment has ended.

Not everyone with hepatitis C will need treatment. Your immune system may be able to fight the infection well enough to clear the virus from your body. If your immune system doesn’t clear the infection, medications usually work well to treat the condition.

How to Prevent the Spread of Hepatitis C?

Experts have yet to develop an effective hep C vaccine, though research continues. Currently, the best way to protect yourself from the hepatitis C virus is to avoid using any items that may have come into contact with someone else’s blood.

You can do this by – 

Please don’t share personal care items: People often cut themselves while shaving, or their gums will bleed while brushing their teeth. Even small amounts of blood can infect someone, so it is important not to share items such as toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers, and scissors. If you already have hep, make sure you keep your items separate and out of children’s reach.

Practice safe sex: It is rare for hep C to be transmitted through sexual intercourse. There is a higher risk of contracting hepatitis C when you have HIV or another sexually transmitted disease, several sexual partners, or are involved in rough sexual activity.

Don’t share needles or syringes: Intravenous drug users have the highest chance of getting infected with hep C because many share needles. Besides needles, the virus may be present in other equipment used with illicit drugs. Microscopic droplets may enter the straw and be passed on to the next user, even if they cannot be seen.

Get tattoos or piercings at licensed facilities: Only use a licensed tattoo and piercing artist who does the right sanitary procedures. A new, disposable needle and ink well should be used for each customer. Before getting a tattoo or piercing, ask about their disposable products and sanitary procedures.

Avoid direct exposure to blood: If you’re a health professional or medical care professional, try not to come in direct exposure to blood. All instruments that require blood at the workplace must be taken out safely or sterilized to avoid the spread of hepatitis C infection.

Remember that hep isn’t often transmitted during sex since it’s a bloodborne infection. That said, barrier methods, like condoms, can still help reduce your chances of contracting any sexually transmitted infection.

If you think you could have hep C, getting tested immediately doesn’t help you get treatment. It can also help you take steps to avoid transmitting the virus.

If chronic hepatitis C develops, you’ll require medical treatment as fast as possible. If not treated, chronic hepatitis C may eventually cause complications, like severe liver damage or liver failure. But both types of the disease are treatable through treatment.


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