Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can both cause chronic long-term illness and permanent damage to the body, especially the liver, if they are not treated properly and in a timely manner. Both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are spread by generally the same ways:
- Having unprotected sex with someone who is infected
- Sharing contaminated needles or other drug-injecting devices
- Using non-sterilized equipment for tattooing, acupuncture or body piercing
- From an infected mother to her baby, commonly during delivery
- Through a blood transfusion if the blood as not been screened for the virus
Contrary to some misconceptions, neither Hepatitis B nor Hepatitis C can be passed on by sneezing, coughing, hugging, sharing food or water, or casual contact.
Patients who suffer from Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C often experience a short yet mild flu-like illness. Both strands of Hepatitis can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, itchy skin, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea. If the disease is not treated or worsens, complications such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer may develop.
Treatments will vary for every patient. For the majority of patients with Hepatitis B, symptoms will not be severe and treatment will not be necessary. The virus can be fought off by the immune system. However, for Hepatitis C, an antiviral may be necessary. For the best results if you think you are suffering from Hepatitis, schedule an appointment with Saracino Gastroenterology to assess your symptoms.