Viral Hepatitis C
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver caused by a hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Medicines keep the virus from spreading. Medicines may also prevent or decrease swelling of and damage to your liver.
- Do not take any medicines without first talking to your healthcare provider. This includes medicine that has been ordered for you and over-the-counter medicine. Ask before you use vitamins, herbs, herbal teas, laxatives, or food supplements. Any of these could harm your liver.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can increase liver damage.
- Eat a balanced diet. Eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables, low fat dairy, beans, and lean meats. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
- Get plenty of rest. Slowly return to your normal activities when you feel better.
Prevent the spread of hepatitis C:
- Cover any open cuts or scratches. If blood from your wound gets on a surface, clean the surface with bleach right away. Make sure you throw away any items with blood or body fluids on them, as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Do not share personal items. These items include toothbrushes, nail clippers, and razors. Do not share needles.
- Tell household and sexual partners that you have HCV. They should be tested for HCV. Do not have sex, including oral and anal sex, until your healthcare provider tells you it is okay. If you have sex, make sure the male partner wears a latex condom.
- Protect your baby. Mothers infected with HCV should stop breastfeeding if their nipples are cracked or bleeding.
- Do not donate blood, body organs, semen, or other tissues.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You are vomiting and cannot keep food or liquids down.
- Your abdomen or legs have a rash or are swollen.
- You are bruising easily.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You are too dizzy to stand up.
- You feel confused or are very sleepy.
- Your stools are red or black and sticky.
- Your symptoms get worse.
- You vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.