If you suspect the presence of hepatitis C in the body or just to collect information to protect yourself and your loved ones, a person always asks three main questions.
The first question is what kind of disease is hepatitis C and how it is transmitted. The answer is a short definition – this is a liver and blood lesion that has a viral nature. May have a chronic type of course and acute.
The second – what is dangerous about hepatitis C. this disease is characterized by a rapid transition to the chronic stage, which is almost asymptomatic, so it is still called "affectionate killer". Sometimes a doctor without appropriate laboratory tests can not recognize only the symptoms of an insidious disease that may be hiding under the guise of depression, neurosis or disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
The third is usually concerned not only about how hepatitis C is transmitted, but also how it is treated. Currently, several schemes of combined therapy with direct antiviral drugs have been developed, depending on the genotype of the virus. They are based on Sofosbuvir (Harvoni, Harvoni, Daklinza, Sovaldi). This treatment provides almost 100% guarantee of full recovery.
In addition, you will also learn about the symptoms and diagnosis of the disease, the main tests to confirm the diagnosis and methods of prevention.
How is hepatitis C transmitted ?
People under the age of 30 are most often infected with hepatitis C. To understand the nature of the disease and control methods, you need to know how hepatitis C is transmitted.
IMPORTANT! Hepatitis C can only be transmitted from person to person and only through blood (hematogenic), it can not be transmitted through other physiological fluids, at least one drop of infected blood must always be present.
The answer to the question – through which hepatitis C is transmitted-is extremely simple: only through human blood. The hepatitis C virus cannot be transmitted by airborne droplets.
In everyday life, there is an extremely small probability of transmission of the virus, only if the carrier's blood gets to a healthy person through damage to the skin. However, damage can occur for any reason. If a shared razor or toothbrush is left a drop of blood can cause the contamination.
The main places of transmission of hepatitis C, or how the virus is transmitted from a person, can be presented in the form of the following list with explanations:
- Joint use of drugs – when using a single syringe (needle) to inject drugs intravenously. Drug users and people serving sentences in prison are at risk of becoming infected in the first place. In a syringe, the virus can remain active for up to 63 days.
- Blood transfusion – this group of patients is considered a high risk group. An annual screening is scheduled.
- Piercings, tattoos, eyebrow and lip tattoos, manicures or pedicures, visits to the dental office. After each client, tools and tools at hand must be autoclaved, disinfected, or used as disposable kits. If sanitary standards are not met, the risk of infection is very high. On tools without proper processing, the virus can exist for up to 16 days.
- Medical personnel who come in contact with blood in one way or another can quickly become infected. For example, on cotton wool, the virus can live up to 48 hours, especially if it is put in a bag or foil.
- Often young people ask the question – is whether hepatitis C is sexually transmitted. If sexual contact is protected, the virus cannot enter the body of a healthy person. Under the condition of unprotected sexual intercourse, the probability of transmission is about 5%.
- From mother to child-the child may become infected when passing through the birth canal (about 5%), or when breastfeeding, so if there are cracks or wounds on the chest and nipples, it is better to refuse breastfeeding.
Interesting fact! When people learn that hepatitis C is transmitted through the blood, they begin to fear insect and animal bites. You can't get hepatitis C from an animal or mosquito. It is possible to get infected if a person with bleeding gums bites a person. But this is unlikely.
Symptoms and diagnosis of HCV
The main symptoms of acute hepatitis C, which may worsen with the development of the disease, are as follows:
- sense of growing weakness;
- periodic increase in body temperature;
- the urge to vomit, nausea, pains in abdominal area, especially under the right rib;
- changing the color of urine (dark) and feces (light);
- pain in the joints;
- skin itching and rashes similar to hives.
Chronic course is characterized by:
- increased pain in the right side after eating;
- weight loss;
- increased fatigue, especially after heavy physical exertion;
- because of toxins that accumulate in the body due to violations in the liver, there are violations of cerebral circulation, neurological phenomena, hallucinations, decreased concentration of attention;
- violation of taste sensations-there is a clear bitterness in the mouth;
- by changing the shape of the fingers, they become similar to drumsticks.
The incidence statistics in Russia are disappointing. 5.8 million patients have already been identified, and an epidemic is considered to be a situation when more than 1% of the population or 1.5 million people are affected by the disease. This means that the epidemiological threshold has already been exceeded 4 times, and the entire population of Russia is at risk, so you should not adhere to the old myth that chronic hepatitis C is transmitted "only to drug addicts and prostitutes".
Due to the fact that the symptoms are often blurred, the incubation period can last up to 6 months and even for mild symptoms it is very difficult to make a correct diagnosis, so it is necessary to pass tests to determine the hepatitis C virus at least once a year.
In order to make sure that there is no virus in the body, you need to pass the following tests:
- ELISA-setting the presence of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus.
- PCR-in the analysis, the work is carried out with the RNA of the virus, this analysis is quantitative and qualitative. For complete confidence, it is enough to pass an ultra-sensitive qualitative analysis.
- Biochemistry and General blood analysis-these studies are additional, needed to assess the overall state of the body.
How long does a person with hepatitis C live
If studies have revealed the presence of the virus and diagnosed hepatitis C, then you do not need to panic. This disease is no longer considered incurable. It is successfully treated.
A patient with hepatitis C without treatment, but in the absence of additional diseases, with a strict diet, a very strong immune system and a healthy lifestyle, can live up to 20-30 years after infection. But, unfortunately, even a healthy lifestyle does not save you from the consequences of exposure to this viral disease.
There are statistics that out of every 100 people infected with hepatitis C:
- In 85, the acute stage will become chronic, that is, chronic hepatitis C is registered.
- In 70, everything will end with pathological liver changes that have a chronic character.
- 15 patients will begin to develop cirrhosis, which can last up to 30 years. And it can happen much faster.
- Only five people can develop cancer or rapidly progressive cirrhosis, which will lead to a fatal outcome.
To prevent infection, you need to understand not only how the hepatitis C disease is transmitted, but also how to avoid contact with infected blood. It is all the more important to know that even if a person has had hepatitis C and successfully passed treatment, this is not a guarantee that they will not get infected again. The body is not able to develop immunity to hepatitis C.
Protection can be guaranteed by preventive measures that must be strictly observed. These include:
- Strict hand hygiene, use of disposable gloves for medical personnel, dentists and beauty salons.
- Safe conduct of any medical or cosmetic injections: do not forget that the virus remains active in the syringe for the longest time – 63 days.
- For injecting drug users - you need to use a syringe only once, you can get disposable syringes in specially organized help points.
- Exclusion from your life conducting manicures, piercings, tattoos, beauty shots in dubious institutions where reusable tools are used. The best solution is to ask the masters to further process the tools before performing manipulations.
- Treatment only in dentistry, paying special attention to compliance with sanitary measures. You do not need to hesitate to ask for additional information, because it is about your health.
- Safe sex – you should always use a condom, especially with an unverified partner.
- In everyday life, you can not use someone else's toothbrushes, manicure sets and shaving accessories.
Chronic viral hepatitis C, no matter how it is transmitted, will not be terrible, if precautions are followed, it is better to be safe.