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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A information                                         Hepatitis B information

What is hepatitis C?

What causes hepatitis C?

How could I get hepatitis C?

Can I get hepatitis C from a blood transfusion?

What are the symptoms for hepatitis C?

What are the tests for hepatitis C?

How is hepatitis C treated?

How can I protect myself hepatitis C?

Where can I buy a home test kit for hepatitis?

 

 


What is hepatitis C? (top)

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that makes your liver swell and stops it from working right.

 

What causes hepatitis C? (top)

Hepatitis C is caused by a virus (the flu is a type of virus). A virus is a germ that causes sickness. People can pass viruses to each other. The virus that causes hepatitis C is called the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

 

How could I get hepatitis C? (top)

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with an infected person's blood. You could get hepatitis C by:

  • sharing drug needles

  • getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it (hospital workers can get hepatitis C this way)

  • having sex with an infected person, especially if you or your partner has other sexually transmitted diseases

  • being born to a mother with hepatitis C

You can NOT get hepatitis C by:

  • shaking hands with an infected person

  • hugging an infected person

  • kissing an infected person

  • sitting next to an infected person

Can I get hepatitis C from a blood transfusion? (top)

If you had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992, you might have hepatitis C.  Before 1992, doctors could not check blood for hepatitis C, and some people received infected blood. If you had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992, ask a doctor to test you for hepatitis C.

 

What are the symptoms of hepatitis C? (top)

Many people with hepatitis C don't have symptoms. However, some people with hepatitis C feel like they have the flu. Symptoms can include:

  • feeling tired

  • feeling sick to your stomach

  • fever

  • loss of appetite

  • stomach pain

  • diarrhea

  • dark yellow urine

  • light-colored stools

  • yellowish eyes and skin

If you have symptoms or think you might have hepatitis C, go to a doctor. The doctor will test your blood.

 

What are the tests for hepatitis C? (top)

To check for hepatitis C, the doctor will test your blood. These tests show if you have hepatitis C and how serious it is.  The doctor may also do a liver biopsy. A biopsy is a simple test. The doctor removes a tiny piece of your liver through a needle. The doctor checks the piece of liver for signs of hepatitis C and liver damage.

 

How is hepatitis C treated? (top)

Hepatitis C is treated with a drug called peginterferon, usually in combination with the drug ribavirin.

You may need surgery if you have hepatitis C for many years. Over time, hepatitis C can cause your liver to stop working. If that happens, you will need a new liver. The surgery is called a liver transplant. It involves taking out the old, damaged liver and putting in a new, healthy one from a donor.

 

How can I protect myself hepatitis C? (top)

Ways to protect yourself and others from hepatitis C include:

  • using a condom when you have sex

  • not sharing drug needles with anyone

  • wearing gloves if you have to touch anyone's blood

  • not using an infected person's toothbrush, razor, or anything else that could have blood on it

  • making sure any tattooing or body piercing is done with clean tools

If you have hepatitis C, don't give your blood or plasma. The person who receives it could become infected with the virus.

 

Click here to buy a home test kit for hepatitis

 

Click below for our additional hepatitis sites

Hepatitis A information                                         Hepatitis B information

 

For more information on all types of Hepatitis, please visit the Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI)

 

 

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