Hepatitis C Health Tips – Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that attacks the liver cells and causes inflammation of the latter. This is a so-called viral hepatitis. This virus is present in the blood of an infected person and is part of notifiable diseases. It can remain alive about 5 to 7 weeks in the open air. In the long run, there can be serious consequences, such as cirrhosis and in some cases, liver cancer. This virus can remain for decades in the body without any noticeable symptoms. Meanwhile, the infected person can transmit the virus to others unknowingly. There are six genotypes of hepatitis C that is called from 1 to 6, and a large number of subtypes, which makes it difficult to research. Currently, no vaccine is available to combat this virus. Each case is different and must be evaluated by a doctor who is able to give the person with appropriate advice.
Hepatitis C Health Tips
The most common symptoms associated with HCV are: Loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, weight loss, fatigue, insomnia, hypersomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, depression, mood swings and quickly sporadic way, like having the flu, jaundice …
The evolution of hepatitis C is classified into 2 phases. The first 6 months following the episode of HCV infection, composes the acute phase. During this period, three quarters of infected individuals will experience no symptoms. After 6 months of infection, the term acute phase is replaced by chronic phase. During this phase of evolution, the most common symptoms are those listed above. Among those in chronic phase, 15% manage to get rid of the virus naturally. The remainder, about 85%, remain infected for months, years, decades … At this point, the liver has damaged cells that can cause undesired operation. Generally, alcohol consumption accelerates the development of infection and thereby the degradation of the liver. For the majority of people infected with hepatitis C after 10 to 20 years, if they are not treated, they will reach the stage of cirrhosis and even liver cancer. In addition, hepatitis A or B can worsen liver damage from HCV infected person, which is why it is highly recommended to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if we have received a positive diagnosis. Throughout the course of the disease, it is very important to have a rigorous medical monitoring to monitor damage to our liver, to be able to start treatment at the right time. The most used methods to monitor damage to our liver biopsy are or fibro-scan. A biopsy is to pick a small piece of your liver to determine the stage of degradation of the latter. This is a known invasive method, as it penetrates inside the body. Furthermore, there is also the fibro-scan, a noninvasive method called very similar to ultrasound, it measures the elasticity of the liver to determine its curing and thereby degradation.
Transmission mode :
HCV is spread by direct contact with the blood of a person infected with the blood of another person. A tiny amount of blood may be sufficient to transmit the virus.
Hepatitis C Health Tips
Contact blood to blood, needle sharing and or equipment for intravenous injection, straw or any other object used to snort drugs, vaginal or anal sex unprotected, tattooing or body piercing done with instruments not sterile …
The risk of transmission of mother-to child is estimated at 5%. Transmission is usually during childbirth. The data do not indicate that breastfeeding can transmit HCV. By cons, it is not recommended to breastfeed for someone who had HCV and cracked nipples at once. Sexual intercourse with a person infected with HCV is low risk. In this case, the use of a condom is not negligible. We must not forget that this is a notifiable disease, which means that you must inform your sexual partner before the relationship. Be responsible! The fact of living under the same roof an infected person does not pose a risk, except in rare cases where there may be blood to blood contact (eg sharing toothbrushes, nail clippers, razors, as moisturizing lip stick).
At present, we have to wait between 2 and 3 months after the episode at risk, before getting a significant result of contamination. Only a lab test done from a blood sample allows knowing if you have been infected with HCV. Just make the request in a community care Local center (CLSC) or a Health Centre and Social Services (CSSS).
We suggest you go pass a drug test if you recognize yourself in any of the following:
- You have received blood, blood products or organ transplants before 1992.
- You have received clotting factors before 1987.
- You have received blood, blood products or organ transplant from a donor infected with HCV.
- You have accidentally been in contact with blood or material that may be contaminated. For example, pricked by a used needle in trying to pick up.
- You shared injecting equipment at least once, even if it’s been. Ex: (syringe, spoon, water, alcohol pad …)
- You shared equipment for snorting drugs such as straws or have used a banknote to sniff.
- You had a tattoo or body piercing in inadequate conditions of sterilization.
“Hepatitis Resources” offers a FREE service the pivot nursing assistant who can act if you do not have a family doctor. We can direct you to a medical consultation and follow up during treatment. Hepatitis Resource has a clinic specializing in HCV (Hepatitis C Virus).
The treatment of hepatitis C requires a prescription. In Quebec, depending on the region where you live, it is the gastroenterologists, hepatologists and infectious disease specialists or general practitioners who care for hepatitis C. The duration of current treatments is 8 to 24 weeks variable , depending on the state of our liver before the start of treatment and the effectiveness of said treatment on the body. Several treatments can be used for cure of hepatitis C.
July 27, 2015, a new treatment has been approved by the health insurance board in Quebec and refunded. The latter is specifically for genotype 1 and applies to cases of fibrosis 3, 4 fibrosis and cirrhosis. These are Harvoni ™ Pak ™ or Holkira drugs. These two treatments may be combined with ribavirin as appropriate. These new treatments offer very few side effects in addition to the treatment time is reduced compared to older treatments and make the virus disappear in 97 to 100% of cases. Possible side effects include anemia, rash, fatigue and nausea.
In other cases or those with fibrosis stage 1 or 2, and for different genotypes of HCV, there are treatments combined with interferon and / or ribavirin dose concentration which varies with the amount of virus present in the blood. The treatment does not eliminate the virus in all cases, but it can reduce the severity of the disease.
It is generally recommended to abstain from alcohol and drugs before starting treatment. Moreover, it is important not to take any other medication during treatment without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
Ribavirin may cause birth defects. It should never be administered to pregnant women. During treatment and six months after the latter, as treatment applies to the man or the woman, the couple must use a very safe contraception.
side effects of treatment (with interferon):
Unfortunately, many undesirable side effects accompany the treatment. They are not present and for all, for people who suffer these side effects, they will be at different intensities. Fortunately, they disappear at the end of treatment. The most common side effects. :
fever, headache, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, dry skin, anemia, loss of taste, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, aggression, depression, irritation …
At present, there is no vaccine against hepatitis C. Fortunately, by taking certain precautions, one can avoid contracting, transmitting or aggravating hepatitis C. We must not forget that can be re-infected with hepatitis C, even if we have already healed. This is why prevention is important.
Our recommendations to prevent HCV infection:
- If you use injection drugs, do not share needles or other used equipment (spoon, water, alcohol pad, etc.).
- If you make use of inhaled drugs, never use a banknote or other object that could absorb the blood and never swap the straws or other equipment.
- Do not share personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers, moisturizing lip stick etc.).
- Do not trade jewelry, rings, rods, or other object that passes through the skin with those of someone else.
- If you want a tattoo or piercing, make sure that the instruments are new and sterile.
- If you collect used syringes, enter the body of the syringe, preferably with tweezers and do not try to cap.
- If you have a bleeding wound, make sure you cover it with the appropriate dressing.
- If you are infected, in addition to the above recommendations, you must:
- Inform the nursing staff that takes care of you in the hospital or the dentist that you have hepatitis C.
- You should not donate blood, organs, tissue and semen;
- If you have ever given or received blood, notify your doctor;
- Use a condom during sexual intercourse.
Advice for people with HCV:
- To maintain the best possible quality of life, if you have hepatitis C, you must:
- Avoid alcohol;
- Do not take any medication without talking to your doctor;
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and the one against Hepatitis B (provided free);
- Receive the vaccine against pneumococcal infections and one against influenza (provided free);
All should be aware of the following facts:
- Hepatitis C is not transmitted by food, for water, for daily contact like hugs, sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, or by sneezing or coughing.
- Cohabitation with a person infected with hepatitis C do not increase the risk of being infected in turn, if prevention procedures are followed.
- People infected with HCV should not be excluded from work, school, day care or other location.
- There are support and self-help groups for people with HCV as “Hepatitis Resources” for example.
- Being a mother and living with HCV
You must be informed that:
The risk of transmission of mother-to child is estimated at 5%. Transmission is usually during childbirth.
Available data do not indicate that breastfeeding can transmit HCV. However, it is reasonable not to breastfeed if lesions or chapped nipples.
Children born to infected mothers should be investigated in order to detect possible infection. It should soon receive the first dose of vaccine against HAV and HBV, even if HCV infection is not confirmed.
The child infected at birth is developing normally, like other children. They have a spontaneous cure rate of about 33% which is twice that in adults. For the remaining 66%, the evolution is very slow. Therefore usually the treatment is even considered before adulthood. For children or adolescents who have to undergo treatment, the results are comparable to those in adults. The infected child delivered adolescent or adult must still abstain from consuming alcohol.
Living with HIV and HCV
Being infected with both HIV and HCV, called co-infection, poses a number of problems. This also brings several questions to which there are no answers yet. “Hepatitis Resources” has become specialized in the treatment of co-infection.
The risk of HCV transmission from mother to child is three times higher. The risk of HCV transmission through sex may also be higher.
In the case of co-infections, HCV screening test is less reliable. HIV can worsen HCV-related disease. The progression to cirrhosis is two to three times more common and is twice as fast. By cons, HCV does not appear to significantly influence the progression of infection VIH.Pour more information about co-infection with HIV and HCV, do not hesitate to contact us email or phone.
Hepatitis C Health Tips