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Woman lying down in grass, in front of image of large sun, looking hot and tired

Summer Heat & Hep C

It’s the heat of the summer. The temperatures are soaring, with record heat across the country. News stations are reminding people to stay hydrated, to stay inside during peak hours, and to check on the elderly and those with health conditions. But what does all this heat mean for people with hep C?

Sensitivity to light

Like several other health conditions, hepatitis C can increase your sensitivity to sunlight (known as photosensitivity).1 This is especially true if you are on treatment for your hepatitis C.2 Certain treatments may increase your sensitivity to sunlight, so consider asking your doctor if you need to decrease your sun exposure during treatments. If so, take this warning seriously, protect yourself with sunscreen, hats, long sleeves, and limit the amount of time you are exposed to direct sunlight. If undergoing treatment, be aware of your medications and the warnings associated with them.

If you are out in the sun enjoying a family outing or such, seek out shade frequently, rest, and hydrate. 

My experiences

Because I’m fighting end stage liver disease, sun and heat are not my friend. First off, I find that my own body has a very difficult time regulating my body temperature. I also retain more water in the extreme heat days, causing edema in my legs and ascites in my body cavity. When this happens, more pressure is put on my body, leading to pain in my joints.

In the summer, my swelled legs seem more painful than in cooler months where the swelling is not so intense. Personally, I do not take any sort of medication where there are warnings against direct sun exposure, but I do tend to react more quickly to the sun. For example, I get pink more quickly (sunburn). 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

During these hot months of summer, we must must must drink more water and stay well-hydrated. Whether you are sitting at home in the coolness of an air conditioner or in your car driving around, have that bottle of fresh water with you.

If you find plain water boring, mix it up! Here are some of my favorite refreshers that I make to stay hydrated: Water with lemon or lime; water with fresh fruit, such as strawberries or blueberries; and water with cucumber and ginger.

To sum up the summer…

  • Limit time in direct sun
  • Drink more water
  • Seek shade
  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing
  • Rest
  • Enjoy this time of year!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Esmat S, Elgendy D, Ali M, et al. Prevalence of photosensitivity in chronic hepatitis C virus patients and its relation to serum and urinary porphyrins. Liver Int. 2014;34(7).
  2. Wilkins T, Malcolm J, Raina D, Schade R. Hepatitis C: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(11):1351-1357. Accessed August 21, 2018.


  • highmaintenance
    1 year ago

    Doesn’t the Sunlight give a “burning/tingling” felling from the top of the scalp to shoulders to feet? This is the feeling I get when exposed to direct or indirect sunlight. I take anti-Rejection meds along with a list of 10-12 others on a daily basis, none are antibiotics. Appreciate your article and welcome your thoughts or comments on this burning feeling from light. Keep the Warrior Attitude.

  • Kimberly Morgan Bossley moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you for reaching out. I personally do not have that sensation. That is not to say that it is not a possible symptom. I think with that the only possible way to try to head off that feeling is to wear caps or some sort of hat. I am so sorry that is part of your experience. That would be a tough one for sure.

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