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Product Specifications: 8.5 x 11 inches or 5.5x 8.5 inches; 50 tear sheets, two-sided information (full color front side, one-color back side), printed on white stock, sturdy cardboard back, detailed medical illustrations in color and continuous tone, space available for overprinting of contact information or product may be customized with new artwork or text (additional charge may apply).
This tear sheet pad contains the following information:
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Hepatitis C virus is carried in the blood of people infected with the virus. It is primarily spread through contact with infected blood, such as:
* Being accidentally stuck by an HCV-infected needle (a concern for health care workers)
* Frequent contact with HCV-infected people (a concern for health care workers)
* Injecting illicit drugs with shared needles
* Receiving HCV-infected blood transfusions (before 1992) or blood clotting products (before 1987)
* Receiving a tattoo, body piercing, or acupuncture with unsterilized or improperly sterilized equipment
* Receiving an HCV-infected organ transplant
* Receiving long-term kidney dialysis treatment (dialysis machine can be tainted with HCV-infected blood)
* Sharing toothbrushes, razors, nail-clippers or other personal hygiene items that have HCV-infected blood on them
Hepatitis C can also spread through:
* An HCV-infected mother to her baby at the time of birth
* Receiving a blood transfusion
* Sexual contact with someone infected with HCV
* Sharing a straw [or inhalation tube] when inhaling drugs, with someone infected by HCV
HCV cannot spread through:
* Breast feeding
* Casual social contact
* The air
* Unbroken skin
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
* Body piercing
* Having sex with partners who have hepatitis C or other sexually transmitted diseases
* Injecting illicit drugs, especially with shared needles
* Long-term kidney dialysis treatment
* Receiving a blood transfusion before 1992
* Receiving blood clotting products before 1987
Eighty percent of people with hepatitis C have no symptoms. However, over time, the disease can cause serious liver damage.
Symptoms may include:
* Abdominal pain
* Aches and pains
* Cigarette smokers may suddenly dislike the taste of cigarettes
* Darker colored urine
* Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
* Joint pain
* Light or chalky colored stools
* Loose, light-colored stools
* Loss of appetite
Chronic hepatitis C infection may cause some of the above symptoms, as well as:
* Loss of appetite
* Severe fatigue
Serious complications of hepatitis C infection include:
* Increased risk of liver cancer
* The possibility that the infection will become chronic, leading to cirrhosis (scarring) and progressive liver failure
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will also want to discuss your risk factors for hepatitis C.
Tests may include:
Blood Tests – to look for hepatitis C antibodies or genetic material from the virus (The antibodies are proteins that your body has made to fight the hepatitis C virus.)
Liver function studies – to initially determine and follow how well your liver is functioning
Liver Biopsy – removal of a sample of liver tissue to be examined
Hepatitis C is treated with medications, including:
* A combination of interferon and ribavirin
* Interferon, given by injection
* Ribavirin, given orally
These medications can cause difficult side effects and have limited success rates. In unsuccessful cases chronic hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis (scarring) and serious liver damage. In rare cases a liver transplant may be needed.
To prevent becoming infected with hepatitis C:
* Avoid handling items that may be contaminated by HCV-infected blood.
* Avoid sharing personal hygiene products (toothbrushes, etc.).
* Do not have sex with partners who have sexually transmitted diseases.
* Do not inject illicit drugs, especially with shared needles. Seek help to stop using drugs.
* Donate your own blood before elective surgery to be used if you need a blood transfusion.
* Limit your number of sexual partners.
* Practice safe sex (using latex condoms) or abstain from sex.
To prevent spreading hepatitis C to others if you are infected:
* Do not donate blood or organs for transplant.
* Get both a hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination.
* Tell your dentist and physician before receiving check-ups or treatment.