If you’re a baby boomer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get tested for Hepatitis C.
Those born in the post-World War II baby boom, between 1945 and 1965, are 5 times more likely to have Hep C than older adults.
Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t know they’re infected because there’s often no symptoms, which is why it’s so important to get tested through a blood test called a hepatitis C antibody test. But, for those who are newly infected with acute Hep C, there are sometimes signs, including fever, fatigue, dark urine, clay-colored stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, and jaundice.
Hep C is a liver disease primarily spread through contact with the blood from an infected person. This usually happens through unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and the transfusion of unscreened blood. Those who are infected can go on to develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Although it’s not completely understood why baby boomers have the highest rates of disease, one of the suspected reasons is because they were born in a time before universal precautions and infection control procedures were set involving medical equipment.
Other populations who are at an increased risk include those who have ever injected illegal drugs, those with HIV infection, and children born to HCV-positive mothers. A full list can be found on the CDC’s website.
Fortunately, if you are diagnosed with Hep C, there are treatments available to cure it.