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Hepatitis C in Children: Part 1

We talk a lot about how adults feel with having been diagnosed with hepatitis C. What we have not shared much about is the children who are born with hepatitis. For children, they will not fully comprehend what exactly hep C is.  My foundation’s support group for families who have children fighting hep C are coming out in numbers now. Many of these children are under age of 12.  Most, if not the majority, in this group are adopted children whose birth moms passed along the hep C virus to their babies. These families are reaching out trying to find answers and direction to help their little children fighting this disease.

The emotional impacts

This leads me back to what children may be experiencing.  The whole realm of the disease is not much different in children; however, keep in mind that children tend to be more active by nature because of their age. But for a child fighting hep C, you will see drastic changes between the healthy child and that one fighting hep C. In my experience, they are moodier and unable to control their emotions very well. They are tired and tend to take naps more frequently. Their muscle and joints may be very sore, causing them to lose sleep because of the pain. Their appetite is minimal and cravings for sugary things will be more intense (like for those with liver issues). They will only experience burst of energy, if any at all.

As with adults, diet, sleep, and getting regular visits to the doctor are recommended.

School & hepatitis C

If your child is in school age range, you will need to talk with school nurse and teacher about the possible need for your child to have regular “timeouts” where they go lay down and rest- at recess or whatever. 

Zachariah’s story

Not but three years ago, my little buddy Zachariah was in elementary school fighting hep C. His mom, Kelly, contacted me about helping the school to understand. They had limited and refused to let him use the computer in class because he sneezed on the keyboard.  Slowly, his little school desk got pushed away from the other students. He was not allowed to do any after school activities (like wrestling), for fear of him exposing other students to hep C.  The lack of knowledge and information about hep C was ugly. Kelly and her oldest daughter fought hard to get this school to understand how hep C was contracted and spread, but ignorance and fear were the driving force. Segregating this poor guy from other students and forbidding him to just do normal kid things was so wrong. Poor Zachariah had no idea what was happening, only that he knew his blood must be cleaned up immediately if he started to bleed.

Long story short, Kelly persisted, and demanded that Zachariah be able to be as close to a normal kid in school as he could. Now, it was over a year ago that he was cured through a clinical trial for children with hep C. After he was cured, my foundation gave him a green dragon bike so that he could start being a kid again. It was a beautiful day, getting a video of him riding his bike with that big smile. He is now starting middle school and still cured.

I am so proud of you, Zachariah. Not long ago, he told his mom he has a birth mom, he has adopted mom, he needed a god mom… and he asked me to be that. Of course, I accepted with great honor and pride. I love this little guy so much.

Read Part 2 here

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.