Hepatitis C, like Hepatitis B also causes infection and inflammation of the liver. There are two forms of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), chronic and acute. People with acute Hepatitis C will see a sudden onset of symptoms. Chronic Hepatitis C symptoms set in over a longer period of time. Hepatitis C is very contagious and there is currently no vaccination for the virus.
Hepatitis C Contagiousness
Hepatitis C is transmitted through contaminated blood. The disease can be spread through the sharing of drug needles and personal items like razors. Coming into direct contact with the blood of someone who has the virus will pose a risk of contracting the disease. Mothers with Hepatitis C can transmit the virus to their baby during childbirth.
The form of Hepatitis C has an effect on the symptoms people will experience. The majority of people with acute Hepatitis C have no noticeable symptoms. In those that do show symptoms fever, poor appetite and tiredness are common. People who experience symptoms shortly after infection may see changes in the color of their urine, abdominal and muscle pain and nausea. The earliest symptoms of Hepatitis C are not visible for six to seven weeks after exposure. In some cases, it could be six months to 10 years before a person infected with the virus shows any signs.
Hepatitis C Treatment
The treatment for Hepatitis C depends on the form of Hepatitis C, the condition of the person’s liver and other pre-existing health problems. Medications may not always be used to treat the virus because of possible adverse side effects. Acute Hepatitis C sometimes goes untreated because most people infected are unaware that they have it. Those that know they have acute Hepatitis C will be prescribed medications in an attempt to prevent the onset of a chronic infection.
If there is no liver damage, a person with Hepatitis C may not require treatment. In fact, some 15% to 25% of those infected with Hepatitis C will rid the virus from their body without any particular treatment. In some individuals, treatment will involve medications, like boceprevir, to fight the infection. These medications are prescribed for six months to one year. Because of the damage the medications can cause the body, a lot of doctors may suggest rest and a proper diet to avoid dehydration and malnutrition.
Hepatitis A, B and C are serious health conditions that affect millions of people. Early treatment is important to making sure the virus does not cause irreparable damage to the body. While there are treatments available, avoiding at-risk activities will help to curb the spread of the virus.