Hepatitis B may be a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, meaning it lasts quite six months. Having chronic hepatitis B increases your risk of developing liver failure, cancer of the liver or cirrhosis — a condition that permanently scars of the liver.
Most adults with hepatitis B recover fully, albeit their signs and symptoms are severe. Infants and youngsters are more likely to develop a chronic (long-lasting) hepatitis B infection.
A vaccine can prevent hepatitis B , but there is no cure if you've got the condition. If you're infected, taking certain precautions can help prevent spreading the virus to others.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B range from mild to severe. They usually appear about one to four months after you have been infected, although you'll see them as early as fortnight post-infection. Some people, usually young children, might not have any symptoms.
Hepatitis B signs and symptoms may include:
· Abdominal pain
· Dark urine
· Joint pain
· Loss of appetite
· Nausea and vomiting
· Weakness and fatigue
· Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
When to see a doctor
If you recognize you have been exposed to hepatitis B , contact your doctor immediately. A preventive treatment may reduce your risk of infection if you receive the treatment within 24 hours of exposure to the virus.
If you think that you've got signs or symptoms of hepatitis B , contact your doctor.
Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is passed from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids. It does not spread by sneezing or coughing.
Common ways that HBV can spread are:
· Sexual contact. You may get hepatitis B if you've got unprotected sex with someone who is infected. The virus can pass to you if the person's blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body.
· Sharing of needles. HBV easily spreads through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing IV drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of hepatitis B .
· Accidental needle sticks. Hepatitis B may be a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in touch with human blood.
· Mother to child. Pregnant women infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, the newborn are often vaccinated to avoid getting infected in most cases. Talk to your doctor about being tested for hepatitis B if you're pregnant or want to become pregnant.
Hepatitis B spreads through contact with blood, semen or other body fluids from an infected person. Your risk of hepatitis B infection increases if you:
· Have unprotected sex with multiple sex partners or with someone who's infected with HBV
· Share needles during IV drug use
· Are a man who has sex with other men
· Live with someone who has a chronic HBV infection
· Are an infant born to an infected mother
· Have a job that exposes you to human blood
The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given as three or four injections over six months. You can't get hepatitis B from the vaccine.
The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for:
· Children and adolescents not vaccinated at birth
· Those who work or live in a center for people who are developmentally disabled
· People who live with someone who has hepatitis B
· Health care workers, emergency workers and other people who come into contact with blood
· Anyone who has a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV
· Men who have sex with men
· People who have multiple sexual partners
· Sexual partners of someone who has hepatitis B
· People who inject illegal drugs or share needles and syringes
· People with chronic liver disease
· People with end-stage kidney disease
· Travelers planning to go to an area of the world with a high hepatitis B infection rate
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