Skin Rashes and Hep C
Last updated: March 2023
Hepatitis C is just one of those viruses that have a diverse array of symptoms. A quick google search shows symptoms of hep C fall into many categories. Some examples of these are categories like renal symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, neurological symptoms, dermatological symptoms, and more.
While many individuals are asymptomatic, I certainly was not in that cohort. Well, that’s not exactly true.
Having unusual symptoms with hep C
For most of my life, I was. From age zero until shortly after my eighteenth birthday, I had no cause to suspect I was living with hepatitis C.
Until I stopped being asymptomatic, it came on more suddenly than I would have thought possible for a disease. It was like all of a sudden, I was really sick. All of a sudden there was all this stuff going wrong in my body.
I was young at the time and knew very little about the disease I’d thought at that time would end up killing me. I learned through experience some of the more peculiar things that can happen from having a liver virus.
Even after treatment, as I grappled with extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis c, many of these unusual symptoms would end up becoming part of what flare-ups would look like
for me. Meaning they stuck around.
The first and probably most annoying of these symptoms are chronic rashes and hives. I have chronic hives. The worst of them is on my face.
When I get hives, the rash develops along my trigeminal nerve. It can look quite unnerving. Almost like a raccoon mask but wispier.
At this point, it is hard to avoid triggering them as the aggravating factors change often. Chronic hives and skin rashes aren’t the only skin symptom with roots in hepatitis c infection.
Purple splotches called purpura can develop on the skin, often on the lower leg. These spots are sometimes called ‘blood spots.’ This specific skin issue can be a sign of the development of a disease that is an extrahepatic manifestation called cryoglobulinemia.
My cryo-induced-purpura went away when I achieved remission and have not redeveloped as of yet. So it seems they may not even be a permanent skin issue, much like rashes and hives.
Reach out to your doctor if you have a rash
However benign purpura may seem, I urge you to speak with a healthcare practitioner you trust if you notice these spots developing on your body.
To some folks, things like dermatological symptoms of hepatitis C may seem like things one should be able to brush under the rug, but they aren’t. Although these symptoms carry a lower risk of long-term harm, there is still a risk.
Secondary skin infection is among the most dangerous of them all. Not only that, but skin discomfort can make everyday life pretty miserable.
Living with chronic hives or rashes can affect our personal and professional relationships, what activities we participate in, and our self-worth. Costs and side effects of treatment of many of these skin issues can be barriers to those affected by these symptoms in some cases.
Let's be honest: in this economy, who isn’t feeling the strain on their wallets? Treating something like hives and spending money on receiving healthcare or treatment may
not be economical for something that is not life-threatening.
Whatever your situation, I hope you can find some relief from the itchiness and discomfort that hep-c-related skin rashes bring. Do you have experience with hepatitis-c-related skin issues?
What worked for you to help soothe the symptoms? Let me know in the comments.