Similarities Between Flu, COVID-19, and Hepatitis C
What do the flu, Covid-19, and hepatitis C have in common? What protective steps do you need to take if you have hepatitis C?
The answers can help you make important decisions concerning your health and wellness.
Co-infections are a greater risk to those with hepatitis C and compromised immune systems. When I had hepatitis C, my hepatologist advised me to take protective steps to help prevent co-infections, especially during cold and flu season.1
Now more than ever, we need to take protective steps.
What do the flu, Covid-19, and hep C have in common?
Flu, Covid-19, and hepatitis C are all caused by viral infections, though each is from different viruses. Flu and Covid-19 are respiratory viruses transmitted from airborne exposure. Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood exposure that primarily attacks the liver. 1
Each of these viruses can weaken the immune system and put the patient at a greater risk for co-infections and complications.
Flu, Covid-19, and hepatitis C can cause mild to severe symptoms. Every patient’s infection and treatment experience can be similar yet different.
Flu, Covid-19, and hepatitis C viruses can live on surfaces outside the body for various lengths of time. 1
There is a flu vaccine to help protect against most virus strains, but it must be taken each year. There are also vaccines for Covid-19. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
No one is immune from the flu, Covid-19, or hepatitis C. Even if you have once had any of these viruses, you can get them again.
Protective measures are the best method to avoid infection from each virus.
Preventive measures to avoid infection
Protective steps can be taken for each one to help avoid infection. Annual flu shots are available to help protect against most flu virus strains.
Practicing good hygiene, wearing face masks, and avoiding close contact are safety steps to protect yourself.
Steps to avoid hepatitis C infection
- Avoid injecting or inhaling drugs and sharing needles with someone
- Clean and cover wounds when injured
- Do not share hygiene items like toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
- Wear protective gloves when helping someone dress a wound
- Practice safe sex
- Use clean, unused needles and equipment if you get tattoos or body piercings
- When cleaning up blood from surfaces, wear protective gloves and clean surfaces with a bleach and water solution
- If you received a needle stick or was exposed to blood from someone who is infected with hepatitis C, see your doctor for testing
What preventive steps are you taking for this flu season?