What Is Hepatitis B? Symptoms, Causes and Cure

By ChemistsWorld On 13 Jun 2018

Hepatitis B is one of the infectious diseases badly affecting the lungs due to the hepatitis B virus(HBV). For a few people, this infection may become chronic, that means it can last for as long as six months. When you have chronic hepatitis B infection, you are at a high risk of getting permanent liver damage, cirrhosis(a condition that may permanently scar the liver), or even liver cancer that may prove fatal. Fortunately, many individuals with severe risks and infections of hepatitis B may get recovered if they take the recommended vaccination as prescribed by the doctor. Children and infants have more chances of getting the hepatitis B chronic infection. However, if you get infected with HBV at a later stage, the condition cannot be cured even after vaccination. Also, if you are infected, getting certain injections will help in preventing the spread of the virus to others.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of hepatitis B differ from person to person. This may range from mild to severe. They generally occur after 3-4 months after you have been infected with the virus. Also, you can notice them even within 2 weeks of being infected. Some individuals, generally children, may not feel any symptom of hepatitis B virus.

Moving ahead, some of the most noticeable signs and symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint Pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the eyes becoming white
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue

When Should you seek medical help?
If you come to know that you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis B, look for your doctor immediately. A proper preventive measure may help in reducing the risk associated with the virus within 24 hours of its exposure.

The Causes
As mentioned earlier, the cause of hepatitis B is the hepatitis virus(HBV). This virus is spread from individual to individual via person’s semen, blood, or other fluids in the body. It doesn’t spread due to coughing/sneezing.

Some of the common ways are:

  • Sharing needles
  • Sexual contact
  • Mother to child
  • Accidental needle sticks

How to prevent it?
The vaccination of Hepatitis B is given as 3-4 injections over a period of six months.

The vaccination is advised for:

  • Children and adolescents who were not vaccinated at birth
  • Newborns
  • Individuals having sex with multiple partners
  • People with the chronic liver disease
  • People with end-stage kidney disease
  • People who inject illegal drugs or share syringes and needles

Precautions to be taken to avoid HBV

  • Use a new latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex
  • Be cautious about body piercing and tattooing
  • Know the HBV status of your sexual partner
  • Ask about the hepatitis B vaccine before you travel
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