How to tell the children  they have hepatitis c

Zachary (6 yrs old has had since birth)  and his mom Kelly

 

 The most difficult task for a parent is to tell their kids they have a horrible disease.These discussion can help parents how to start to talk about it with their kids when they need to.

 Today we can see light in the end of the tunnel and we have the new medications for the cure of Hepatitis C, this help the parents have more power inside their heart and they can tell their child they can be cured!

 

Experts who have studied children with cancer and HIV/AIDS recommend parents tell their child about a hepatitis C infection as soon as she or he

can understand the information, starting at age 8 or earlier if the child is asking detailed medical questions.

 

Known as vertical transmission, most children are infected with Hepatitis C at birth. A mother with Hepatitis C has a 1 in 20 chance of passing the infection on to her child. The higher the mother’s viral load, the greater likelihood of vertical transmission occurring. According to the American Liver Foundation, Hepatitis C infects about .15 percent of 6-11 year olds and .4 percent of 12-19 year olds. Approximately 23,000 to 46,000 children in the U.S. currently have Hepatitis C. There are cases that the  mom and the kid got hep C during the birth with blood transfusion.

 

Zachary a 6 year old (pictured above with his mom and below with his brother) has had hep c since birth.  Because of his age he does not quite understand the full meaning of what is going on in his little body.  He knows he doesn't feel well and he knows he has a bad liver.  Already at his young age he has experienced what no one especially his age should have to go through... discrimination because of his hepatitis c.  It took his mom Kelly going to the school board to report such actions by his (past) school.  They were not allowing him to use the computers or participate in physical after school activities because of the lack of knowledge on how this disease is spread.  After educating the educators kelly was able to get him back into activities but ended up moving him to a better school.  Actions such as these should never be happening to anyone let alone young innocent children that can't fully grasp the concept of what hepatitis c is.

 

 

Two important rules for parents and caregivers to consider are:

  1. Don't lie. You don’t have to name the infection if children are very young, but never ever lie. The damage to trust between parent and child will far surpass any short-lived benefits gained by deceit.
  2. Share as Soon as Possible – The longer you wait to tell a child about their illness, the greater the chance of destroying trust. If an uninformed older child or teen is not asking about his or her visits to the doctor, don’t assume the child is not interested. It is important to impart this information even if the child appears uninterested Children will soon realize their medical histories differ from those of their friends. A child may begin to study diseases in school and realize that the precautions parents take to prevent infection are not practiced by others.

Zachary doing what every kid loves..PLAY

Lori W. Wiener, coordinator of the Pediatric HIV Psycho-Social Support and Research Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says trust between parent and child is paramount during disclosure. Disclosure should occur little by little, beginning  when the child can communicate.

 Ideally, Wiener explained, when a parent discloses the conversation should begin like this:

 

"Everyone is different and you have something unique in your blood that the doctors need to check on every six months."

"Your blood is a private body part that you only talk about with your family and doctor."

"There is a germ in your body that needs to be checked up on and treated with this medicine."

 

“The disclosure dialogue is a constant building process,” Wiener said. “If the child asks why the parent didn’t tell them earlier, the parent needs to be able to say, ‘I never lied to you, I told you what was wrong, I just hadn’t told you name of the virus.”

 Probable the kid will want to tell somebody, a close friend, about what is going on than is very important you  explain that not everyone is as educated as we are, and it’s important that we make a plan and educate the friend about this infection first. After all, we don’t want anyone to treat us badly.”

And the most important, you need to discuss  how and when to tell siblings about their infection to prevent secrets from hanging around the house.

 

Questions That Children Might Ask You

 

Eventually, children are going to have questions about their illness. Natural questions are bound to arise such as:

 

Am I going to die?

How did I get Hepatitis C?

Who can I talk to about this?

Can I infect other people?

Why am I the only one who has this?

 

Counselors emphasize the importance of parents having a general plan regarding how to address these questions. While honestly answering these questions will increase a child’s comprehension of their disease, it will not necessarily put their fears to rest. However, being able to discuss their fears is healthier than keeping them bottled up so they can expand.

 

We hope we can help you with this guidelines, be prepare, strong and honest, help your child understand what is going on and most important, stay strong, stay positive and get into a support group with other families going through the same ordeal.  Check out our private support group on facebook  Hepatitis C from A to Z. this is a private group only those in the group can see the posts.  Our NEWEST Group for Children of Hep c  HEP C Kids Corner  look for us on facebook.  This group is designed for parents with children of hep c and kids with parents of hep c.  This allows you to connect with others in the privacy of your home.

 

 


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