Hepatitis C Rash
Last updated: April 2023
Hepatitis C is often associated with liver damage, or abdominal pain due to liver damage. Although these are common symptoms, there are some other symptoms that may also be indicative of a hepatitis C infection. These include jaundice (the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark urine, light-coloring of the stool, an increase in fatigue, or one or more skin rashes. These rashes are not contagious. However, it is always recommended that anyone with any open wound try to prevent it from touching others, largely due to the attempt to prevent infection of the wound via external contaminants.
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A common skin rash related to hepatitis C is called urticaria. This often occurs when the body is trying to fight off the hep C infection on its own (before any medical treatment is provided). The rash is typically itchy and widespread, which means it might be on numerous places on the body. The rash is typically red and might lead to skin swelling, which can last for many hours. It might even look like an allergic reaction.
For someone with a longer existing hepatitis C infection, there may be prolonged or chronic liver damage. This sometimes leads to a rash called lichen planus. This can involve the scalp, skin, mouth, nails, and genitalia. It can appear to be white and patchy or scaly, resembling patches of very dry skin or eczema. Sometimes, the rash may appear to look like dark spots, much like round scabs on a patch of the body
Another hepatitis C is pruritus, the sensation of being itchy without a visible reason for the itch. This is the feeling of needing to scratch somewhere, without there being anything visible when you look at where you are scratching. This is not any sort of emergency, though it may feel scary since most times scratching occurs when there is some sort of rash, mark, or injury present.
Other skin symptoms from hep C
Sometimes, there is no rash or itching sensation, but the skin is showing generalized symptoms of liver problems. This state of damage can cause symptoms to appear on the skin. Some of these symptoms include general redness, red spots, hives, or brown or dry patches.
Ask your doctor about skin symptoms
First, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist. Not every skin rash is indicative of a hepatitis C infection or of liver damage. Your physician will be able to identify your rash and either explain why it is occurring or order tests to verify or rule out other illnesses, including hepatitis C. If you are diagnosed with hepatitis C, your physician will be able to provide you with both the test results and the information so you can begin to understand what happens next to rid your body of the virus. Together, you and your doctor will plan a course of action that fits with your insurance, your budget, and your individual medical needs.