What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infection of your liver. It is caused by a virus. There is a vaccine that protects against it. If that happens, it can cause scarring of the organ, liver failure, and cancer, and it even can be life-threatening. It’s spread when people come in contact with the blood, open sores, or body fluids of someone who has the hepatitis B virus. It’s serious, but if you get the disease as an adult, it shouldn’t last a long time. Your body fights it off within a few months, and you’re immune for the rest of your life. That means you can’t get it again.

Hepatitis B Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • jaundice

Symptoms may not show up until 1 to 6 months after you catch the virus. You might not feel anything. About a third of the people who have this disease don’t. They find out only through a blood test.

Hepatitis B Causes and Risk Factors

The most common ways to get hepatitis B include:

  • Sex: You can get it if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it and your partner’s blood, saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions enter your body.
  • Sharing needles: The virus spreads easily via needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.
  • Accidental needle sticks: Health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood can get it this way.
  • Mother to child: Pregnant women with hepatitis B can pass it to their babies during childbirth. But there’s a vaccine to prevent newborns from becoming infected.

It is doesn’t spread through kissing, food or water, shared utensils, coughing or sneezing, or through touch.

Hepatitis B Prevention

  • Get the hepatitis B vaccine. It’s key to prevention.
  • Use condoms every time you have sex.
  • Cover all open cuts or wounds.
  • Don’t share razors, toothbrushes, nail care tools, or pierced earrings with anyone.
  • Don’t share chewing gum, and don’t pre-chew food for a baby.
  • Make certain that any needles for drugs, ear piercing, or tattoos, or tools for manicures and pedicures are properly sterilized.
  • Clean up blood with one part household bleach and 10 parts water.

Hepatitis B

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