Hepatitis B spreads through having sex with someone who is infected, having direct contact with the body fluids or blood of someone who has the disease, and sharing a dirty needle with someone who is infected, explains WebMD. It is also possible for an infected woman to pass the disease to her child during birth. Hepatitis C spreads through the same methods as hepatitis B, though it is far less common to acquire hepatitis C through sexual activity.
Due to extensive testing, the blood exchanged in transfusions is safe. It undergoes screening to ensure that neither virus is present, states WebMD.
The symptoms of hepatitis B and C are the same, notes WebMD. These include feeling ill and having pain in the stomach, dark urine, low-grade fever, poor appetite and excessive tiredness. A yellowing of the skin and eyes is also very common in infected people, as is pale or clay-colored feces. A person with hepatitis B may also experience achy joints.
Several medicines are available to treat hepatitis B, such as Epivir, Interferon, Baraclude and Hepsera, according to WebMD. Some people with hepatitis C notice a decline in symptoms if taking a combination of the medicines peginterferon alpha and ribavirin. The side effects of this drug combination are severe anemia and birth defects.