Should I Do Hepatitis C Treatment During a Pandemic?
Hepatitis C patients naturally have concerns about hepatitis C treatment. Some may wonder if they should start treatment during a pandemic. Having a weakened immune system may put a person at a greater risk of contracting other infections and viruses, such as the regular flu or COVID-19. However, your doctor may tell you that hepatitis C treatment can still be done safely during cold and flu season or a pandemic. Hepatitis C treatment can impact your immune system, so safety precautions need to be taken.
Where are you in your treatment journey?
When is the best time to do hepatitis C treatment?
If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, early treatment is best due to the hepatitis C virus continues to cause inflammation and damage to your liver, which can ultimately compromise liver function.
Ask your doctor about:
- Tests to determine if you have liver damage and if so, what amount.
- Your liver condition and what treatment is best suited for you, and when they recommend you start treatment based on your liver condition
- What safety precautions you should take specifically for your liver and overall medical condition
Safety precautions for hepatitis C treatment
Before beginning hepatitis C treatment, your doctor may recommend getting your annual flu shot, hepatitis A and B vaccines, and pneumonia shot if you are age-eligible. Before your treatment begins, talk to your doctor, healthcare team, or specialty pharmacist about treatment side effects and what is safe for you to take to relieve side effects if they occur. If possible, purchase these in case they are needed.
Before treatment begins, you can also stock up on groceries and items you need at home to avoid getting out in public as much as possible once you are in treatment. Prepare meals ahead which can help if you experience treatment side effects and avoid going out for meals in public.
Always wear a mask when you are in public and practice social distancing. Use hand sanitizer often at home and when in public. Clean surfaces at home with disinfectant cleaners.
Proactive liver tips
Talk to your doctor about all over the counter and prescription medications, vitamins, herbs, or supplements you take or before taking. Your doctor may also recommend:
- Taking care of yourself by avoiding alcohol, recreational drugs, smoking, exposure to harsh chemicals, herbs, and supplements.
- Avoiding “alternative” treatments for the liver
- Eating a nutritionally-healthy diet. Avoid processed foods.
- Losing weight if you are overweight.
- Exercising: Mild exercise is beneficial in helping you lose weight, boost your immune system, increase energy, and stamina.
- Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If needed, take rest breaks during the day.
- Drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water daily or water infused with citrus.