Sydney PremierX Medical & Health Centre
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309 Pitt Street,Town Hall
Sydney CBD 2000
02 8964 8677
NEWS
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Know These Hepatitis C (Hep C) Symptoms
What Is Hepatitis C (Hep C, HCV)?

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. It is a member of the family of viruses that include hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The viruses behave differently and have different modes of transmission. Hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, and even death.


How Do You Get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne illness, meaning it is transmitted via contact with infected blood. Usually the virus enters the body through a puncture wound on the skin.


Is Hepatitis C Contagious?

Yes, hepatitis C is contagious. The most common way hepatitis C is transmitted is via injection drug use. Sharing needles with someone who is infected can transmit hepatitis C. Health care professionals may contract the virus via needlestick injury. Prior to 1992, the U.S. blood supply was not screened the way it is today, so some people contracted hepatitis C from infected blood transfusions. Rarely, babies born to hepatitis C-infected mothers acquire the virus. Hepatitis C can also be spread by having sex with an infected person or sharing personal items (a razor or toothbrush) with someone who has the virus, but these cases are rare.

Hepatitis C (Hep C) Symptoms

About 70% to 80% of people with the hepatitis C virus do not have any symptoms, especially in the early stages. In these people, symptoms may develop years, even decades later, when liver damage occurs. Others develop symptoms between 2 weeks to 6 months after infection. The average time to develop symptoms is 6 to 7 weeks after acquiring the virus. A person who has hepatitis C infection, but isn't exhibiting any symptoms can still pass the virus on to others. Hepatitis C symptoms may include:

Mild-to-severe fever
Fatigue
Abdominal pain
Loss of appetite
Nausea
Vomiting
Joint pain
Dark urine
Clay-colored stool
Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)

Hepatitis C (Hep C) Treatment

Treatment for hepatitis C is available. The course of treatment depends on whether the infection is acute or chronic, the strain (genotype) of the virus, the amount of the virus in the body (viral load), the degree of liver damage, response to previous treatment, and the health of the patient. Hepatitis C treatment is highly individualized, so it's important to be under the care of a doctor with expertise in this area. The goal of treatment is to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR), which means there is no detectable virus in the blood 6 months after treatment. While it's not a cure, achieving SVR is the next best thing. Many people with hepatitis C can achieve SVR with treatment.

How to Prevent Hepatitis C Infection

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection. To reduce the risk of infection, avoid sharing personal items (toothbrushes and razors) with others. Do not use injected drugs. If you do use injected drugs, never share needles and equipment with others. Getting tattoos and body piercings can put you at risk. Use condoms during sex. Health care workers should take precautions to avoid needle-sticks and properly dispose of needles and other materials that come into contact with blood. Speak to your doctor about your risk factors and follow recommended screening standards for hepatitis C.

For a  Health Check please call to book an appointment with one of our experienced doctors in Sydney CBD on 02 8964 8677, or book an online appointment at bookings@spmh.com.au