Hepatitis C begins like the flu, one that you can’t quite get over. For some people, hep c symptoms develop slowly, or there may be no symptoms (especially the case with children–if you had Hepatitis C while you gave birth, make sure to have your baby tested). Symptoms, as they develop, vary from person to person, and may come and go. Possible Hep C Symptoms include:
- Flu-like Symptoms: Fatigue, a low fever, headaches, sore throat, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and aches.
- Live damage, and pain in the right side of your torso, where the liver is located.
- Liver damage may cause scarring, or cirrhoses, of the liver, which may lead to liver failure
- Dark Urine and/or Pale Feces
- Acute Infection
- Jaundice (when the liver fails and the skin turns yellow)
The Hepatitis C virus, HCV, is particularly nasty and hard to cure in North America–only about 50% will be cured or have no sign of the virus for 6 months. Success in treating Hepatitis C is heavily affected by the immune system of the patient (and the presence of other diseases), and by how early treatment is begun (the longer it’s left untreated the more virus and the more possible liver damage), as well as many other factors, like age (older patients respond less well to interferon, a common treatment).
Hepatitis C is transmitted by the blood of an infected person. You can come into contact with it via sex, sharing objects that may have come into contact with their blood (a needle, a toothbrush, a razor), or by accident. If you have multiple sexual partners in a year, are a healthcare worker, or are concerned you may have come into contact with infected blood, it’s a good idea to get tested for Hep C–you may need to wait for confirmation, as the virus/antibody are not always readily apparent in the first six months after exposure, although some people will naturally get rid of the virus from their body in this time.
It’s also important for people who have Hepatitis C to realize they can easily transmit the disease, and to not share personal objects with others, and to inform sexual partners of the risk.
If you have Hepatitis C, make sure to take care of your liver by avoiding toxins (alcohol should be avoided all together, or drunk in moderation), and by taking care of your overall health (exercising, sleeping enough, getting all your vitamins) so that your immune system is strong and focused on the HCV. Because Hepatitis C attacks the liver, it may be a good idea to look for ways to safely cleanse the liver of toxins, and to support the functioning of the liver.