Looking after your health and your liver
Taking care of your overall health, including your liver’s health, is important when you have chronic hep C. Speak with your healthcare professional before making any changes like trying any over-the-counter remedies or changing your diet.
A balanced diet is important for general health and a healthy liver. Try to eat a variety of nutritious foods including fruits, vegetables, lean protein (e.g. meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, tofu), whole grain breads and cereals.
Limit or avoid alcohol
It is healthier to avoid alcohol.
Aim to keep alcohol intake to a minimum as regular and heavy intake can increase the risk of liver damage.
Always speak to a healthcare professional before taking any medication or herbal remedies as some can be bad for your liver.
The liver processes most drugs, so only take those that your healthcare professional prescribes. Remember to tell your healthcare professional about any other over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you may also be taking. Some can be bad for your liver.
Social contact is ok
Hep C is spread through blood-to-blood contact. It is not spread through food or water.
It’s ok to:
- ✔ Hold hands
- ✔ Kiss
- ✔ Hug
- ✔ Sneeze
- ✔ Cough
- ✔ Share cups, cutlery and dishes.
How to protect others
There are things you can do to help prevent the transmission of hep C to another person.
|Any blood spills – including dried blood which can still be infectious – should be cleaned using a dilution of one-part bleach, 10 parts water. Wear gloves when cleaning up blood.|
|Don’t share personal items like toothbrushes, razors or nail clippers – or any item that could have your blood on it.|
|Avoid sharing or reusing needles or any other equipment to prepare and inject drugs, steroids, hormones, or other substances.|
Hep C and sex
The risk of catching hep C through sex is low, especially if you are in a long-term relationship with one partner.
The risk increases if you are having sex with multiple partners, rough sex, have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or are infected with HIV.
Practice safe sex by using condoms.
Talking about hepatitis C with others
Hepatitis C can be a sensitive subject, and you may not want to talk about it but having the support of a friend or family member can help. There are several ways to start a hep C conversation. Only you can decide when the time is best for you. And when you’re ready, here are some suggestions to get started:
Begin with the facts and encourage people to learn more
You can start by sharing what you know about hep C. When friends and family understand your condition better, they’ll be able to support you better. If they have questions, suggest they talk to a healthcare professional or point them to this website.
Share how you’re feeling
Ask for what you need. Talk about how you’re feeling – especially about any symptoms you may have and how they affect your mood. In addition to speaking with your healthcare professional, tell your friends and family if hep C makes you tired or depressed. Speaking honestly can help them understand what’s going on and why.
Spread the word that hep C can be cured
Oral treatments are available today that can cure hep C infection in the majority of people. You are considered cured if the hepatitis C virus is not detectable in your blood 3 months after treatment has ended.
Successful treatment is likely to be accompanied by an improvement in how you feel.
When you have been treated, let your friends and family know so that others suffering with hep C will feel encouraged to come forward for testing and treatment if required.
Keep in contact with your healthcare professional
Your healthcare professional is your best source of information about hep C’s effect on your body, how to look after yourself and others and the treatment that’s available.
If your healthcare professional has prescribed treatment, you will be asked to have a blood test 3 months after you have finished treatment.
It is very important that you have this test to know whether your treatment has worked.
You may still need to have liver check ups once or twice a year, even if treatment has successfully cleared the virus from your blood.
Keep track of any symptoms you have and if you’re concerned with how you’re feeling, contact your healthcare professional right away.