Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. However, most don't know they have it because the virus causes few symptoms.
- Jaundice (a condition causing yellow eyes and skin as well as dark urine)
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Hepatitis C is transmitted when the blood or body fluids from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune to the disease.
It can be spread by:
- Having sexual contact with an infected person
- Sharing drugs and needles.
- Being cut by infected needles.
- Birth from a mother to a child.
Hepatitis C is not spread through food, water, or by casual contact.
If a person infected with hepatitis C shows signs of liver damage, the doctor will recommend treatment with medication.
Treatment may also involve the use of other medications to counteract the drops in blood cell counts that occur with interferon. Ribavirin by itself doesn't work.
Side effects of interferon treatment for hepatitis C include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Hair loss
- Low blood counts
- Trouble thinking
In addition to the side effects of interferon, ribavirin can cause low red blood cell counts.
There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C, but here are a few tips to help you prevent from getting this virus: Don’t share personal care items, make sure when you go for an injection or a tattoo or piercing that the needle used is clean. Prevent transmission by not donating blood or tissue if you are infected.