Holidays and Hepatitis C

You can have a healthy, happy holiday season even with hepatitis C and liver disease. Here’s some common questions and answers to help you have a great holiday experience.

Is it safe to drink alcohol with hepatitis C, even if it’s just for the holidays?

When your liver is compromised with hepatitis C, alcohol and its effects on the liver are still the same, no matter what time of the year it is. For hepatitis C patients, alcohol is like pouring gas on a fire; In my view, it’s not worth the risk of increased damage. But you can enjoy a festive drink, such as Sprite, Ginger ale, or other favorites that are flavored with fruit. Bring your own beverages if you’re visiting others. Buy a special holiday glass or mug to make it more festive. You can join in festivities and not feel left out.

I’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C and fatty liver disease. What can type of foods can I eat during the holidays?

A general healthy diet for hepatitis C and fatty liver disease can be tailored for the holidays. Poultry and fish are great choices for protein (remove the skin before eating).

Load up on fresh veggie choices. Volunteer to bring some veggie trays, salads, or side dishes that are liver-friendly and include dressing choices on the side. Make your dishes look festive with holiday garnishes. Be mindful of portion sizes, especially when there’s lots of food choices. Slow down the amount of time it takes you to eat. Put down your fork in between bites, drink your beverage before taking in more food. You’ll enjoy your meal, feel full and satisfied without the extra calories.

I will be doing treatment for hepatitis C during the holidays. How can I handle treatment side effects?

Before the holidays, talk to your doctor about what over-the-counter or prescription meds are safe for you to take while on treatment. Have these on hand in case you need them during the holidays. If you need to rest or take a short nap during the holidays, give yourself a break, it’s OK. Pace yourself with how you feel physically. Keep drinking plenty of water to hydrate you during treatment.

I’ll finish my hepatitis C treatment the week before the holidays start. What can I expect in recovery?

Every patient’s recovery experience is a bit different. Fatigue is the most common side effect during treatment. If you feel tired, pace yourself. Take rest stops. Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated. Finishing treatment is a big accomplishment. Enjoy yourself, but remember your body and liver needs time to recover and rebuild strength. Pace yourself. Plan some less strenuous activities in between get-togethers.

Bonus: Holiday exercise tip

Take a stroll after the meal. Walking is a great way to walk off some calories after a feast. Take someone with you and enjoy the company. Remember attitude, is key. Take these steps to turn the holidays from Ba hum bug to merry with hepatitis C.

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