someone using hand sanitizer as a Flu prevention tip for Hepatitis C

Cold and Flu Season with Hepatitis C: 8 Tips for Staying Healthy

During flu season, people with conditions such as hepatitis C, cirrhosis, compromised immune systems, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease may be concerned about exposure to viruses.

My hepatologist recommended a few ways that could help stop the spread of a cold or flu.1-5

Healthy habits during cold and flu season

Here is a list of 8 healthy habits to consider trying during cold and flu season:

  1. Talking to your doctor about getting the annual flu shot.
  2. Washing your hands often, preferably with antibacterial soap.
  3. Use hand sanitizer. Use in between washing your hands, especially when touching surfaces like doorknobs, shopping carts, and keypads at the store.
  4. Wear face coverings. Face mask or face shields can potentially help protect you from airborne virus germs.
  5. Change out disposable and non-disposable face masks & wash cloth masks often. Follow washing instructions for N-95 face masks, should you use one.
  6. Be mindful of what you touch. Cold and flu virus germs can live on surfaces outside the body for several hours and up to 7 days, depending on the surface.
  7. Clean high-use surfaces with antibacterial cleansers and/or cleansers with bleach. Clean kitchen and bathroom counters, doorknobs, light switches, water faucet handles. Wash kitchen and bathroom hand towels often. Clean phone and keyboard surfaces and others that you touch often.
  8. Be safe when you greet others and use a non-handshake greeting. Greetings can be done in several ways, such as an elbow bump, waving, or giving a slight bow. The best thing you can give a person is a smile and a warm vocal greeting.

Cold and flu symptoms

Cold and flu symptoms can often have similar symptoms to seasonal allergies: headache, sneezing, stuffy nose, watery or itchy eyes. Generally, seasonal allergies do not include fever unless a sinus infection starts to develop. Cold and flu season can begin as early as October and continue until May, peaking in winter.4

Know the difference between the cold and flu:6

Cold symptoms:

  • Stuffy or running nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Water or itchy eyes

Flu symptoms:

  • Stuffy or runny rose
  • Sneezing
  • Water or itchy eyes
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • General unwell feeling
  • Nausea and Vomiting may occur but is seen more often in children

If you experience any allergy, cold, or flu symptoms, it is best to be safe and stay home. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, any tests that you should take, and what medications are safe for your liver and medical condition.

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