Hepatitis C symptoms are similar to those of hepatitis A and B, and include:

Temperature over 99.5
Feeling of extreme tiredness unrelated to duration or difficulty of work
Dark-colored urine
Pale grayish or yellowish “clay-colored” stools
Stomach pain
Failing or absent appetite
Aching, painful-to-touch joints or muscles
Jaundice, a yellowish color of the skin and whites of the eyes

Hepatitis is largely asymptomatic, one of the “silent” diseases. Hepatitis C, however, does produce both fatigue and jaundice is about 30 percent of those newly infected, with symptoms occurring anywhere from two to 24 weeks after exposure, either to a hepatitis C-infected individual or to blood from that person. Hepatitis C can also be transmitted via tattoo needles and working in a blood donor or plasma center.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of chronic hepatitis C often don’t appear until the infection has taken over the body – at which point some hepatitis C victims can anticipate developing chronic hepatitis C and inflammatory joint diseases. For example, those who received blood transfusions before 1992 are at significant risk of having contracted hepatitis C.

There are no cures, but victims of chronic hepatitis C can set up a regimen of self-care that relieves hepatitis C symptoms and also helps mitigate the symptoms of any doctor-recommended hepatitis C medications. These are:

Drinking more fluids, and substituting milk or juice for water when nausea prevents eating
Eating small meals or snacks as opposed to regular meals
Avoiding extremely fatty, salty or sugary foods
Avoiding caffeine, tobacco and other stimulants to alleviate medication-induced insomnia
Taking hepatitis C medications before bed, so that sufferers sleep through side effects
Sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet room
Exercising early in the morning or afternoon, but not in the eight hours before bedtime

A recent study shows the gradual degradation of the liver from untreated hepatitis C to occur at a rate of about 5 percent per year. This means that, after 20 years, victims are at high risk of developing life-threatening complications like hepatic hydrothorax (pleural effusions) and bacterial peritonitis.