NHS Choices - Living with hepatitis C
If you have hepatitis C, find the answers to the following questions below:
- Do I need to eat a special diet?
- Could anything I do make hepatitis C worse?
- Is there anything else I can do to help myself?
- Do I have to tell my boss?
- Can I travel abroad?
- Can I have a baby if I or my partner has hepatitis C?
Do I need to eat a special diet?
You will not usually need to change what you eat, as long as you eat a healthy, varied diet.
If your liver is badly damaged, however, your doctor may suggest limiting your intake of salt and protein to avoid putting too much strain on your liver. The hospital dietitian can advise you on what you can and cannot eat.
Could anything I do make hepatitis C worse?
Drinking alcohol can increase the damage to your liver. If you have hepatitis C, cut out or limit your intake of alcohol. If you need advice about this, ask your doctor or contact an alcohol self-help organisation.
Read more about tips on cutting down your alcohol consumption.
If you are concerned that you are addicted to alcohol and are unable to stop drinking, contact your GP. Medications are available to help people quit alcohol.
Read more about treating alcohol misuse.
Is there anything else I can do to help myself?
Control your weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly (aim for 150 minutes a week).
Some studies suggest that being overweight raises the risk of fatty deposits in the liver, which could make your condition worse. Being a healthy weight can also help you respond better to treatment.
Do I have to tell my boss?
You do not have to tell your boss that you have hepatitis C, unless you are a healthcare worker.
However, if hepatitis C is affecting your performance at work and your employer knows about your condition, they may be obliged to make allowances for you, such as giving you leave of absence for going to the clinic under the Equality Act 2010. Therefore, you may want to consider telling your boss about your condition. You may also be entitled to statutory sick pay to cover doctor appointments or time off work.
Can I travel abroad?
If you are planning to travel abroad, seek advice from your doctor or a travel clinic about vaccination. People with hepatitis C are advised to have hepatitis A or hepatitis B vaccinations as routine, regardless of whether they're travelling.
It is also a good idea to take any documentation, such as details of blood tests or medical records, in case you need medical treatment abroad.
Can I have a baby if I or my partner has hepatitis C?
Yes, but there is a small risk (1 in 20) of hepatitis C passing from mother to baby. The risk is higher if the mother also has HIV. If the male partner has hepatitis C, there is a very small risk the virus could spread to the female during sex. If you are female with a male partner who has hepatitis C, you may want to have a hepatitis C test.