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Can You Get Hepatitis C from Drinking?

Ask a Doctor

My friend’s mom drinks a lot and she was just diagnosed with hepatitis C. She started getting muscle pain and fatigue, and right before she went to the doctor, her skin was turning yellow with jaundice. Can you get hepatitis C from drinking too much alcohol?

Doctor’s Response

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that damages the liver. You can't get a virus from drinking alcohol. The hepatitis C virus is contracted when you come into contact with the blood of an infected person.

There is a type of hepatitis called alcoholic hepatitis that is caused by heavy alcohol use over long periods of time. A healthy liver removes toxins from the blood, but when it is damaged by long-term alcohol use, it can become fatty, scarred, and inflamed. While it can cause many of the same symptoms, alcoholic hepatitis is a different condition than hepatitis C.

People who have alcoholic hepatitis should avoid alcohol as it could further damage the liver.

For more information, read our full medical article on hepatitis C.

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Reviewed on 4/2/2019
References
Scott L Friedman, MD. Alcoholic hepatitis: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. 13 August 2018. 12 November 2018 .
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