Young Children and Hep C

This article is for families out there who have a child with hepatitis C. My foundation sponsors a private group for families who are caring for a child with hepatitis C.

We talk a lot about adults and the symptoms we face fighting hepatitis C. But let us look at this from the eyes of a child who is struggling with a health condition they may not understand.   

Hep C risks and children

  

Many in my foundation's group are from the ages of 2-15. I want to address the elementary-age child for a moment.

These little ones need to fully understand the risks and the health situation as well as those that are in the older school-age area. They are experiencing all the same issues we do as adults, but the key here is just this: they cannot convey to anyone just what they might be feeling. 

Fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and nausea, to name a few. Coming from a young child, they don't know how to express these feelings to people.

They know they hurt, do not feel good, are afraid, and are tired. They might cry and act out only because they do not know how to express this to an adult.

Practice patience

Be patient with your child if they are struggling with hepatitis C or any chronic illness, for that matter. They are only acting how they feel. When you do not have words to describe, this is the only way to communicate.

If you are at your wits end trying to help your child, the best thing you can do for them is learn all you can about the side effects and their dietary needs and learn what works for adults in soothing the side effects. Read up on the best foods to make for them when they don’t feel like eating or are nauseated.

The key here is hepatitis C side effects do not discriminate between ages. It is up to the parent and guardian to learn and be there to support and love them through this journey.   

Be patient, and know that comforting words and tenderness like hugs and cuddling might be just what any doctor orders. Warm baths to soothe hurting legs and joints or smaller meals to get nutrition in their little bodies.

Advocate for your child

Lastly, be your child's advocate, ask the doctor all you can, and seek out others who are in the same situation as you. Support is given all around in this fight: caregiver and patient. 

Seek out support and get your questions answered.

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