Acute hepatitis C usually starts with flu-like symptoms Table 01. Symptoms of hepatitis C occur in three phases that, in acute cases, resolve within one month. The first phase is characterized by flu-like symptoms. Within 3 to 10 days, your urine may become dark, and your eyes and skin may turn yellow (jaundice). Jaundice fades within the two-to-four-week recovery phase that follows.
Table 1. Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Anorexia or loss of appetite Malaise Nausea Vomiting Pain in joints Soreness in upper right part of abdomen Fever Dark urine Jaundice
You may experience liver damage if hepatitis C symptoms progress and become chronic. Chronic HCV can cause cirrhosis two or three decades after the initial infection.
Injecting illegal drugs puts you at great risk for acquiring hepatitis C. More than 60% of new HCV infections result from high-risk drug behaviors Table 02.
Table 2. Risk Factors for Acquiring Hepatitis C
Injecting illegal drugs Being on hemodialysis Having had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July, 1992a Having multiple sex partners Having sexual contact with someone who is infected Having been born to a hepatitis C-infected woman Working in the health care industry Having been a recipient of clotting factors made before 1987 Being a hemodialysis patient Having been vaccinated with a nondisposable needle (Eastern Europe, Africa)
a Prior to 1992, testing for viruses in blood transfusions was inefficient.
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