How do Weather Changes affect How You Feel with Hepatitis C?
As the weather chills, it is easy for a person to begin to feel less active and to want to spend more time indoors. For someone with hepatitis C, weather changes like this can make the urge can feel even stronger, since one of the symptoms of the virus and one of the side effects of many medications is exhaustion. However, it is important to keep in mind that this may not be the best thing for the body, even if it is what feels the best in that moment.
Cold weather and hepatitis C
This is because it is important for the body to remain as healthy as possible during the treatment process. This includes receiving proper nutrients and experiencing proper exercise. In addition, some with hepatitis C experience serious depression and/or joint pain during the treatment process, which exercise can help to combat. It can be vital for the body to continue to move and be active during even the coldest months, in order to be proactive about healing.
Possible side effects of cold weather
Some people experience bouts of anxiety or insomnia during their hepatitis C treatment. Some studies show that daily exercise can help to combat these symptom by providing a healthy way for the body to process the anxiety and by tiring out the body so that it can be easier to sleep each night. Others experience feelings of congestion, which they may associate with their HCV diagnosis but may be simply a common cold or flu. If the person chooses to combat this using nasal sprays, it is important to use clean products and not to share them with anyone. These sprays and the straws that are sometimes included can become contaminated with small traces of blood, which can lead to exposure to blood or to the hepatitis C virus.
Warm weather and hepatitis C
As the weather gets warmer, some people become more likely to be exposed to the hepatitis C virus. One way that this can happen is that, as the weather warms, many begin to think about their appearance, since they may be wearing less clothing than in colder temperatures. In an attempt to prepare for bathing suit season or tank top season, they may choose to get a tattoo. Unlicensed tattoo shops or people who tattoo in their own home can cause the human canvas to be exposed to the HCV virus through the use of unclean needles Others begin to think about being barefoot or wearing shorts. This can lead a person to visit a spa for a manicure/pedicure or to try out waxing boutiques. In these sorts of places, there may be small amounts of bloodshed during the procedure, which can lead to exposure if the instruments used are unclean or if the body is otherwise exposed to another client’s blood on the seat or bed of the facility or within the tools used for the experience.
Possible side effects of warm weather
For those who have already contracted hepatitis C as well as those who are currently undergoing medical treatment for the virus, the warm weather may mean an increase in time spent outdoors, which can lead to dehydration for an already fragile body. Many choose to quench their thirst with beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages, which can be a very real problem for those with hepatitis C. Some studies show that alcohol can cause the hepatitis C virus to replicate quicker and others show that it can prevent hepatitis C medication from being fully effective within the body.
In addition, one of the more common side effects of hepatitis C and its medication is that it can cause exhaustion. If a person already experiencing this symptom spends too much time in the sun, they can experience heat exhaustion, which can become very serious. If they attempt to combat the feeling of exhaustion with a small nap, they make wake up to discover they have spent too much time in the sun and have become sunburnt. This can be problematic because the skin may already be extra sensitive from the medication or it may exacerbate any rashes present due to the medication side effects. It is important to try to avoid these complications by drinking lots of water, wearing proper sun protection (sunscreen, clothing with long sleeves, etc.) and by making sure to get enough sleep and time in the shade in order to minimize these risks.
Whatever the season of your hepatitis C infection and treatment process, a person can happily and healthfully enjoy weather changes without risking damage to their body by simply remembering to take precautions and by making sure to treat their body gently.1-5
What dietary changes have you made to better manage hep C symptoms? (Select all that apply)