In the US, around 16000 cases of acute hepatitis C were reported; this statistic is from nearly a decade ago. Although, there has been advances in the treatment of hepatitis C, this figure more or less remains the same. It has been estimated that nearly 3.5 million people have been living with chronic Hepatitis C. Although, this ailment is widespread, very few know about the facts of Hepatitis C.
There can be some misconceptions and confusions, since the disease has symptoms similar to other common diseases such as diarrhea and jaundice. In fact, jaundice is one of the symptoms of Hepatitis C. Also, since there are different strains of the hepatitis virus, people tend to confuse the different types of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis D, Hepatitis E, Hepatitis V.
Here are five things that will help dispel some misconceptions about Hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C spreads through contaminated food and water. One of the common causes of the infection is the use of contaminated syringes; make sure the injections used by your health practitioner or physician is new and clean. Hepatitis C can also spread through blood transfusion if the blood is infected with the virus and not screened for infection. It is best to avoid sharing toothbrushes, nail clippers, or razors, since Hepatitis C spreads through blood.
- Hepatitis C does not spread through casual contact such as shaking or holding hands, hugging, or kissing. It does not spread through coughing or sneezing. There is no risk of Hepatitis C infection through sexual contact as well. However, having multiple sexual partners might increase the risk of Hepatitis C. The virus does not spread through sharing of food or beverages or through breast milk. The chances of the virus infecting a new born from an infected mother is quite low.
- Hepatitis C is completely curable. There are new medicines and treatments that are affordable as well as easily accessible from your nearest health center. With antiviral and antibiotics, the virus can be eliminated from your immune system. However, periodic monitoring is required to avoid a relapse.
- In most cases, it takes decades for acute Hepatitis C to progress to the chronic stage. In most cases, acute Hepatitis C gets cured without any specific treatment. However, it is always better to take preventive measures to avoid progressing to the chronic stage. It is only in the chronic stage that the liver gets severely affected, which might require transplant in the extreme case.
- There is no other way than a specific blood screening test to detect Hepatitis C. Since the symptoms of Hepatitis C overlap with other common diseases, close monitoring is required to check the progression of the virus in the body.