Practical Advice for Hepatitis C

Treatment for infection with HCV may have an impact on the patient’s quality of life, in terms of their personal life, professional life and even social life.

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It is therefore advised that healthy lifestyle recommendations be followed to relieve the symptoms of the condition. 

Hepatitis C Advice No. 1: watch your eating habits
To improve the effectiveness of the treatment, it is important to watch your weight and eat a healthy diet.
For overweight patients with hepatitis C, weight loss is strongly advised.
 
Hepatitis C Advice No. 2: reduce alcohol consumption
Excessive and regular alcohol consumption may lead to patients with hepatitis C developing cirrhosis.
So you should not drink alcohol, or only do so on rare occasions and in moderation (less than one glass per day). For hepatitis C patients suffering from cirrhosis or severe fibrosis, it is recommended to completely stop drinking alcohol, as it can reduce the effectiveness of treatment.
 
Hepatitis C Advice No. 3: reduce your tobacco use
Patients with chronic hepatitis C are often advised to stop smoking.
 
Hepatitis C Advice No. 4: avoid high-risk sexual activity
During sexual contact, the risk of transmitting HCV remains extremely low. Situations said to be high-risk are sexual relations during menstruation or in the case of genital infections such as genital herpes (link).
There is also an increased risk if the person is HIV-positive. In the case of multiple partners or high-risk encounters, the use of a condom is recommended.
 
Hepatitis C Advice No. 5: seek support for psychological issues
The treatment may have side effects such as personality changes and sleeping problems or irritability.
These effects should be managed properly because they could be signs of a more serious problem. You should therefore seek the advice of your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.

HOW CAN I AVOID THE RISK OF PASSING ON HEPATITIS C TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY?

The risk of you contaminating a family member or a friend is practically nil. However, it is advised that patients do not share toiletries that have the potential to come into contact with blood, such as nail scissors, razors or other hair removal tools, or toothbrushes. 
It is still possible to lead a normal life if you have hepatitis C. However, should you have any wounds or cuts, it is very important that you cover them with a bandage or plaster. You are also not allowed to donate blood.