A team of health experts will be out and about across North Lincolnshire this month in a bid to find and test people who may be at risk of a curable liver disease – Hepatitis C.
The blood borne virus infects the liver’s cells and if left untreated damages the way it works. It is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and liver transplants. You can also pass it on to other people.
We are launching a Hepatitis C community ‘hit’ event between 19 and 29 April, with colleagues from The Hepatitis C Trust and With You – North Lincs, the local drug and alcohol service.
Clinical Nurse Specialist in Hepatitis C Clare Robinson, who is based at Scunthorpe hospital, will be out testing during the two-week event. She said: “We want to encourage people to come forward who think they may have put themselves at risk, as the virus is passed through blood.
“So, anyone who has shared razors, toothbrushes, or clippers, have tattoos/piercings, has shared injecting equipment or other paraphernalia for smoking, had unprotected sex or has received blood products could all be at risk.”
The symptoms of chronic Hepatitis C include:
- Tiredness/flu like symptoms
- Depressions, mood swings, difficulty concentrating
- Lack of appetite, indigestion, bloating
- Stomach pains
- Joint and muscle pains and itchy skin
- Jaundice (is a condition in which the skin, whites of the eyes and mucous membranes turn yellow)
You can pop in and see the team between 10am and 4pm at:
- Tuesday 19 April – Viking Centre, Barton
- Wednesday 20 April – Ashby Community Centre
- Thursday 21 April – Westcliffe’s Anvil House
- Friday 22 April – Ironstone car park
- Monday 25 April – Barton’s Viking Centre
- Tuesday 26 April – Barton Fire Station
- Wednesday 27 April – Scunthorpe town centre
- Thursday 28 April – Brigg Old Court car park
- Friday 29 April – The Arc at Westcliff
People can also drop into the With You – North Lincs office which is located on 189-195 High Street in Scunthorpe at any time between 9am and 5pm during the two weeks.
Clare said: “All you need to do is pop along. We will be offering a simple finger prick or oral swab test, which will provide us with results within 20 minutes. If it does come back positive, then we will carry out a second simple test to see if the virus is active.
“The good news is, people will find out quickly and be referred to Scunthorpe hospital so they can get the treatment they need to prevent further damage to their liver.”
She said patients were historically put off from seeking treatment as it had debilitating side effects, likened to being on chemotherapy. The good news is, this is no longer used. Treatment is now in tablet form, has minimal side effects and has a cure rate of 96%.
The scheme will be rolled out to Grimsby in May.