Hepatitis C is a virus that can affect the liver and cause liver disease. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years. Modern treatments and Hepatitis C medicines mean it is usually possible to cure the infection and most people do not find that their life expectancy is substantially altered. To find out more about Hepatitis C and how to stay safe from it, contact Touchwood Pharmacy.
It is estimated that around 118,000 people in the UK suffered from chronic Hepatitis C in 2019.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Unfortunately, Hepatitis C does not have any discernible symptoms until after the liver has suffered significant damage so many people can have the infection without realizing it. Further, symptoms are often confused with other illnesses which means a diagnosis can be delayed.
Symptoms may include:
- Flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and a high temperature or fever
- Constantly feeling tired
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach ache
- Feeling sick and being sick
How do you contract Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is usually spread via blood-to-blood contact. This can include recreational drug users sharing unsterilized needles, sharing razor blades or a toothbrush with someone who is infected or very rarely, through unprotected sex. Hepatitis C can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby.
In the UK, most Hepatitis C infections occur in people who inject drugs.
Avoiding Hepatitis C
The key way to avoid Hepatitis C and subsequent Liver Disease is by making lifestyle changes or using drugs more safely. There are also Hepatitis C medicines that can stop the virus from multiplying inside the body; these medicines usually need to be taken for several weeks.
Until very recently, there were two main medicines for Hepatitis C, a weekly injection plus a capsule or tablet. Now, tablet-only treatments are available. The latest Hepatitis C medicines are more effective and easier to tolerate plus treatment courses are shorter. More than 90% of people with Hepatitis C will be cured.
Find out how to stay safe from Hepatitis C and prevent Liver Disease at Touchwood Pharmacy where we also dispense a range of Hepatitis C medicines.