Hepatitis C: Protecting Your Liver

Pharmacist consulting with man.

Taking good care of yourself is the best way to prevent health problems related to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Give your liver a fighting chance. This means avoiding things that can make liver damage worse. And help your body defend against HCV infection by staying healthy.

Watch medicines and supplements

Some medicines and herbal supplements can harm your liver. To protect yourself:

  • Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking anything that you buy over-the-counter.

  • Learn the generic and brand names for over-the-counter products that may affect your liver. Be especially aware of the many combination medicines that contain acetaminophen.

  • Make sure you tell any healthcare provider who prescribes medicine for you that you have hepatitis C.

  • Because herbal medicines are not FDA regulated, you may not know which could damage your liver. So avoid them unless you speak with your healthcare provider.

  • If you have cirrhosis, get specific instructions from your healthcare provider.

  • If you are overweight, lose weight. Fatty liver can cause the same damage as alcohol.

Do not drink alcohol

Your liver works hard to process alcohol. If you have HCV infection, drinking alcohol may make you more likely to develop cirrhosis. You may also develop it faster. Your best defense against hepatitis C is to not drink any alcohol.

Get tested

It is important to get tested for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. If you are not immune to these, ask your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated against them.

Stay healthy

Your body’s immune system fights against infections. It’s more able to do this when your body is healthy. Eating healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep will help keep your body strong. And staying upbeat can help you keep hepatitis C in perspective.