Acute Hepatitis C
These infections are short-term. They usually happen within 6 months of exposure to the virus.
Symptoms: Often you won't even know you have acute hepatitis C because it usually doesn't cause symptoms. If you do have some, they usually last from 2 weeks to 3 months. They might include:
Complications: Sometimes your body is able to fight off the hepatitis C virus, and it just goes away. But between 75% and 85% of people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus have their acute infection become a chronic infection.
Treatment: You and your doctor may decide to aggressively treat the virus. In that case, you may take antiviral medicine.
Lifestyle management: When you have hep C, you can do things to stay healthy and keep other people from becoming infected.
- Stop drinking alcohol. It can cause more liver damage.
- Talk to your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including supplements. Some may cause liver damage.
- Keep others from coming in contact with your blood:
- Eat a healthy diet. It can help your immune system fight off problems.
- Get regular exercise. It can also boost your immune system and help your overall health.
Chronic Hepatitis C
A chronic hepatitis C infection is long-term. It can last your whole life if it isn't treated.
Symptoms: Most of the time, people with this don’t have specific symptoms. If they do, they’re usually common things like fatigue. As a result, people don’t find out they have it until they donate blood or have their blood tested at a regular doctor’s visit.
Complications: If you have hepatitis C for many years, or if it is untreated, it can cause serious problems, including
Treatment: Antiviral drugs can work to clear the virus from your body. You may take several medicines for 8-12 weeks. You’ll see your doctor regularly and have blood tests while you take the drugs to make sure your body responds well to treatment.
About 90% of people are cured of hepatitis C with few side effects.
Lifestyle management: As with acute hepatitis C, you can do things to stay healthy and keep other people from being infected.
- Don't drink alcohol. It can cause more damage to your liver.
- Tell your doctor about any medicines or supplements you're taking. Some may cause liver damage.
- To keep others from coming in contact with your blood, cover all wounds.
- Don't share toothbrushes or razors.
- Use condoms during sex.
- Tell health care workers you have the virus.
- Don't donate blood.
- Eat a well-rounded diet. It can help your immune system fight off problems.
- Exercise regularly. It can strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy.