What is hepatitisC?

    Hepatitis makes your liver swell and stops it from working right. The liver does many things to keep you alive. The liver fights infections and stops bleeding. It removes drugs and other poisons from your blood. The liver also stores energy for when you need it.


    What causes hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis C is caused by a virus. A virus is a germ that causes sickness. (For example, the flu is a virus.) People can pass viruses to each other.


    How could I get hepatitisC?

    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

    •    Being born to a mother with hepatitis C

    •    Getting a tattoo or body piercing with dirty tools 

    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


    Could I get hepatitis C from a blood transfusion?

    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. All blood is tested now so you can no longer get hepatitis C from a blood transfusion.


    What are the symptoms of hepatitisC?

    Many people with hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. However, some people with hepatitis C feel like they have the flu. 

    So, you might:

    •    Feel tired

    •    Feel sick to your stomach

    •    Have a fever

    •    Not want to eat

    •    Have stomach pain

    •    Have diarrhea

    Some people have:

    •    Dark yellow urine

    •    Light-colored stools

    •    Yellowish eyes and skin

     If you have symptoms or think you might have hepatitis C, talk with your doctor.


    What are the tests for hepatitis C?

    To check for hepatitis C, the doctor will test your blood. If this test shows that you have hepatitis C, the doctor will do other blood tests to find out how much of the virus is in your blood stream and what type of hepatitis C virus you are carrying.


    How is hepatitis C treated?

    Treatments for hepatitis C are getting better. Until recently, the usual treatment was a blend of shots (interferon) and pills that caused unpleasant side effects. Now, there are new treatments options available that will work for most people. With these new treatments, you take one pill once a day for as little time as 8 weeks. There are no shots. Ask your health care provider what treatment will work best for you.


    How can I protect myself?

    You can protect yourself and others from hepatitis C.

    •    If you inject drugs, use your own needles. Do not share needles with anyone

    •    Wear gloves if you have to touch anyone’s blood

    •    Always use a latex condom when you have sex

    •    Don't use an infected person’s toothbrush, razor, or anything else that could have blood on it

    •    If you get a tattoo or body piercing, make sure it is done with clean tools

    •    If you have hepatitis C, do not donate your blood or plasma. The person who receives it could become infected with the virus


    Here are some places to find out more about hepatitis C:

    •    Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control  
    Address: Nan Wei Lu Xi cheng District, Beijing, China
    Telephone: 0086-10-63176623
    Email: 
    efhpc@126.com

    •    Hepatitis Foundation International
    Telephone: 1-800-891-0707

    Website: www.hepfi.org

     

    This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed.It is not a substitute for your care team’s medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.

     

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