How can I help?

There is so much you can do to help, if and when you are needed.

Learning about the symptoms and any side effects of treatment your loved one might have means you can better understand what is happening to them and their behaviour.

Help upon diagnosis

You may feel shell-shocked, angry or confused when you find out someone you care for has Hepatitis C. It is common to feel a whole range of emotions, at the time and later on once the information has had the chance to sink in. There is no right way or wrong way to deal with the news, everyone handles things differently.

It is important to remember that many people have Hepatitis C and treatment is available, meaning it is possible to clear the virus. Try to help both of you to stay calm and be positive, there are many things you can do together to slow down the disease to reduce the effect of the virus. There are also people you can speak to so both of you can find out more about the virus, treatment and to talk things through.

Help during treatment

Most patients do not suffer symptoms from the illness itself, at least not for many years. It is however, common to suffer side effects whilst on treatment. These can include forgetfulness, confusion, depression, stress and mood swings. There can also be physical effects such as exhaustion and loss of appetite, and flu like aches and pains. This may have a knock on effect on your relationship, finances, loss of libido or some changes in lifestyle e.g. diet. Knowing it's the virus or side effects that cause this can help understanding and lessen frustrations. Side effects will vary depending on the person and which drugs you are prescribed. New drugs mean treatment durations are also reducing.

Support for families and carers

Supporting someone through any serious illness can be very demanding. At times you may feel tired yourself, as well as emotionally drained. This is well recognised, so contact a support organisation or helpline to speak to someone if you need help.

Hepatitis C Scotland

http://www.hepcscotland.co.uk

© Health Protection Scotland