According to the World Health Organization, more than 150 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus. In the United States, an estimated 3.2 million people have some form of hepatitis infection. The scary part is most people don’t even know they’re infected because they don’t look or feel sick.
What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It’s also the name of a family of viral infections known as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Hepatitis A is considered an acute virus that’s short in duration and typically severe but not chronic. People with hepatitis A usually get better without treatment. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also appear as acute infections, but in some people, the virus can stay in the body undetected and result in chronic disease. While there are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B, there isn’t one for hepatitis C.
The Danger of the Hepatitis C Virus
The hepatitis C virus, also known as HCV, is by far the most dangerous of the three viruses. Symptoms usually appear as a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after being exposed to the virus. But for many, the acute infection leads to chronic hepatitis, which can last a lifetime and lead to serious problems, including scarring of the liver and even liver cancer.
If you’re caring for an aging parent with a serious health condition such as hepatitis, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Rowlett, TX, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person. The most common ways are sharing needles through injection of drugs, being stuck with a needle in an unsanitary health care environment, and being born to a mother who has hepatitis C.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
Although roughly 70–80 percent of people with acute HCV don’t show any signs, symptoms can appear up to 6–7 weeks after exposure. Mild to serious symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Concerns about Hepatitis C in the Elderly
Many seniors infected with HCV don’t show any symptoms while the virus is quietly attacking their livers. Sterilization of medical equipment has become mandatory in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the world. However, there’s a large number of seniors who are unaware they’re at risk for hepatitis C from being exposed to unsanitary healthcare environments in the past. Prior to the 1960s, doctors were using non-disposable syringes, and it wasn’t until 1992 that blood screening became available for recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs. It’s important for the older generation to get tested. If your loved one was born before 1965, he or she should be tested for hepatitis C. If it’s diagnosed early, your loved one has a better chance of preventing serious damage to his or her liver.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Rowlett in-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (972) 722-7833 today.