Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is one of the severe forms of hepatitis which causes death of many individuals every year. This is an infection in which the swelling of liver is caused by Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is an acute form and may become chronic. About 15% population of US is infected with HCV. Those whose immunity system is not strong enough cannot get rid of the disease completely. So, it stays inside the body of a person and grows inside the liver.

High tendency of hepatitis can be found among certain cases. People who have long kidney dialysis are on the higher risk of being infected by HCV. Those who are in contact regularly with the blood for example a worker at health care center. Those who have insecure sexual relationships with the person who is infected with HCV. This is though rare but the risk is high where a person is having many sexual partners and is already infected with HIV. Those who share drugs or use common needle of those who have hepatitis C.  Those who share the common usage things like tooth brushes and razors. Some children are born with HCV Virus. It happens where a mother is infected and such cases are 1 out of 20 new born babies. This is less common as compared to hepatitis B.

Like hepatitis B a patient of HCV may not have any symptoms at all or even be unaware of the presence of the residing virus. However if the infection is for last many years, the liver may be scarred completely. Those who are infected with the virus recently often suffer with bleeding from esophagus to stomach. They have dark urine which is due to the excretion of bile removed from blood. The body is fatigued. A person feels tired and exhausted even without performing any heavier task. The body limbs feel numbness and the energy level goes down. Anyhow, this is likely obvious symptom of many other diseases. So, other major symptoms are fever and abdominal pain. Fever always makes the body spirits low. The temperature rises and lowers down irregularly. Lower body parts often face jerks of pain and stress. Patient undergoes the feeling of nausea and complains of indigestion.

The more obvious symptom is turning of the skin in pale. The skin color becomes yellowish and the redness goes down. Appetite level goes down and it leads to the fastest weight loss. Pale colored stools are also included in the symptoms of HCV.

HAV enters the bloodstream through intestine and blood takes the virus to the targeted part i.e. liver. The virus multiplies within the liver and the number grows instantly.

The basic goal of the treatment of HCV is to remove the virus from liver and save the patient from the liver Cancer which can be the result of long term HCV infection.

Medication courses are available for hepatitis C and normally a patient gets benefitted. The treatment duration is of 8-24 weeks. Anyhow these medications have a number of side effects. The most common among which are depression, fatigue, fever and itching. It also includes a constant headache and loss of appetite.

As far as the particular precautions of hepatitis C are concerned, patients should be careful not to take vitamins, supplements or new medication before discussing it with a counselor. They should avoid any toxic substance that can be harmful for liver. Even a mild alcoholic drug can speed up the growth and multiplication of the virus inside the liver.

Vaccines are available against the virus of the disease. These vaccines are the protective against the multiplication of the virus in the body. The complete course of vaccine takes 6 months but it starts working within 6-8 days after the first dose is taken. Once the person has an attack of the viral disease of this type of hepatitis; it is very rare for him to have this again in life. With the coming awareness, many people take vaccines as precautionary step and make themselves secure from the threat of the disease.

Some simple steps can be taken in order to reduce the danger and risk of the disease. First of all, the passengers who travel internationally should use only carbonated water for brushing teeth. They should not use the open food or the food offered by the air services. Water should be boiled before drinking. Boiling for one minute kills all types of the germs. Food should never be taken from the food vendors and should be used in the fresh or in sealed pack. When food is heated, it should be eaten right away and does not let to be polluted again. After coming from washroom, hands should be instantly washed. If you come in contact with a person who has this disease, you must wash yourself after the contact is over. All tools must be sterilized after use. When going to a public parlor or a health care center, you must emphasize on the use of new surgical instruments or should ask your practitioner to make sure if they are sterilized. Water and food must be kept away from the dirty places and must be covered.

If looking at these precautionary steps, it can be noticed that all is concerned with the basic principles of hygiene. So, the need is of the general awareness in the public for the use of individual and personal tools where possible. Government should take the responsibility of educating people on national level.

In Asia, under developed countries are on high threat of hepatitis and every year many patients die because of non serious treatment and the insecure usage of common and personal things. This is a fact of high misfortune that the cure is available yet many lives are deprived of it and face death. The United Nation Organization is especially focusing these regions in health programs and it can be hoped that a change will be seen very soon.

By: Ammarah Khan


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