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Hepatitis Health Center

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Home Treatment

Home treatment can help relieve symptoms and prevent the spread of hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Slow down

  • Reduce your activity to match your energy. You don't have to stay in bed, but listen to your body. Slow down when you are tired.
  • If you are feeling tired at work or school, try to reduce your workload.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise.
  • As you start to feel better, slowly go back to your regular activities. If you try to go back to your regular pace too soon, you may get sick again.

Eat right

  • Even though food may not appeal to you, it is important to eat well. For most people, nausea and loss of appetite become worse as the day goes on. Try eating a substantial (but not heavy) meal in the morning and lighter meals later in the day.
  • Doctors used to recommend a high-calorie, protein-rich diet to people who have hepatitis. This is no longer believed to help. And such foods can be hard to eat when you feel nauseated. Try to have a balanced diet while eating foods that appeal to you.

Avoid dehydration

It is important to keep your body well-hydrated when you have hepatitis B, especially if you have been vomiting.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you can tolerate them, fruit juices and broth are other good choices, because they provide extra calories.
  • Many of the "sports drinks" available in grocery stores can help replace essential minerals (electrolytes) that are lost during vomiting. You can also make your own rehydration drink.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Hepatitis makes it hard for your liver to process drugs and alcohol. If you take drugs (prescription or illegal) or drink alcohol when you have hepatitis, their effects may be more powerful and may last longer. They also can make liver damage worse.

  • If you are taking prescription medicines, your doctor may tell you to stop using them until your liver has had time to heal. Don't stop taking the medicines unless your doctor has told you to do so.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products and acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). Acetaminophen can make liver disease worse, especially if you continue to drink alcohol.
  • Avoid alcohol until your doctor feels that your liver is completely healed. This may take as long as 3 to 4 months.

Try to control itching

People who have hepatitis sometimes have itchy skin. You can control itching by keeping cool and out of the sun, wearing cotton clothing, or using over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton. Talk to your doctor before taking these medicines.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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