Most people who are infected with hepatitis C—even people who have been infected for a while—usually don't have symptoms.
If symptoms do develop, they may include:
- Joint pain.
- Belly pain.
- Itchy skin.
- Sore muscles.
- Dark urine.
- Reference Jaundice Opens New Window, a condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes look yellow.
A hepatitis C infection can cause damage to your liver (Reference cirrhosis Opens New Window). If you develop cirrhosis, you may have:
- Redness on the palms of your hands caused by expanded small blood vessels.
- Clusters of blood vessels just below the skin that look like tiny red spiders and usually appear on your chest, shoulders, and face.
- Swelling of your belly, legs, and feet.
- Shrinking of the muscles.
- Bleeding from enlarged veins in your digestive tract, which is called variceal bleeding.
- Damage to your brain and nervous system, which is called encephalopathy. This damage can cause symptoms such as confusion and memory and concentration problems.
Contagious and incubation periods
The incubation period—the time it takes for symptoms to appear after the hepatitis C virus has entered your body—is from 2 weeks to 6 months.
But you can spread the virus to someone else at any time after you are infected, even if you don't have symptoms.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 6, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology