Monday, September 1, 2014
I`m 26 year old female. I have hepatitis C, but am asymptomatic. I have one child. I want to know how to follow up my case and protect my family from infection. I want to get pregnant. Is there any risk? What should I do to have a normal, healthy life?
In order to answer your questions, you need to see a physician and have some additional blood tests done. You should undergo vaccination against hepatitis viruses A and B, if you do not already have immunity against these viruses. You should abstain from alcohol use. You should talk with your doctor about taking other hepatotoxic drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) that may worsen liver damage. You may also be advised to undergo a liver biopsy at some point. You should talk with your obstetrician about pre-pregnancy counseling regarding the risk of transmitting hepatitis C.
There is also a CDC site with frequently-asked questions about hepatitis C that might be of interest: Frequently Asked Questions About Hepatitis C
Also, here are some prevention instructions from the National Institute of Health website: Hepatitis C Prevention
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection. But you can take precautions to protect yourself against becoming infected with hepatitis C virus and to prevent passing on the virus to others. The CDC recommends that you:
- Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them, such as razors or toothbrushes.
- Do not shoot drugs; if you shoot drugs, stop and get into a treatment program; if you can't stop, never share needles, syringes, water, or "works," and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
- Consider the risks if you are thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing. You might get infected if the tools have someone else's blood on them or if the artist or piercer does not follow good health practices.
- Do not donate blood, organs, or tissue if you have hepatitis C.
HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare. If you are having sex with more than one partner, using latex condoms correctly and every time you have sex may help prevent the spread of HCV. You should also get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati