Hepatitis B Virus Information

Making oneself aware of hepatitis B symptoms is important since it can take up to 6 months before symptoms show themselves. Most cases are acute, but some cases become chronic hepatitis b, and is a condition that required extensive medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccinations are available at a doctor’s office or health clinic. Three doses are required to complete the vaccine series. The fist dose is given at any time. A second injection is give one month after initial dose and the third at six months after initial dose. Infants and children can receive a HPV vaccine. It is recommended that patients with kidney disease, sexually active teens, homosexual men, and those traveling to countries where HBV is common receive the vaccine. Children up to 18 years are also encouraged to become vaccinated.

HBV spreads through semen, blood and vaginal fluid. Infections can occur during unprotected sex, blood transfusions, contaminated tattoo or drug needles, or touching an open wound of an affected persons. Sharing of personal items like toothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers can also spread the virus. HPV can also be transmitted to an infant from an infected mother during childbirth. While few adults develop chronic HBV, 50% of children and newborns that become infected will develop serious cases. As the body find the infection, it produces and distributes certain cells to fight it. These cells can leave to liver inflammation and eventually build up to produce liver disease.

Common symptoms associated with acute HBV include fever, muscle or joint pain, loss of appetite and fatigue. Symptoms of jaundice, swollen stomach, or severe nausea and vomiting are more serious conditions and require immediate medical attention. HBV is considered a silent infection because of the slow rate at which symptoms present themselves.

Hepatitis B treatment within the first 24 hours of being exposed can help prevent the virus. An injection of globulin that is immune to hepatitis B is used. Acute HBV may not require treatment. After examination, a physician can determine if the body is fighting the infection on its own while treating the symptoms. Blood tests will be required to follow up and ensure the virus has exited the body. Chronic HBV requires antiviral medications that fight the virus and slow down its ability to cause liver damage. Multiple medications are available. Liver transplant is an option for patients who have had sever damage or developed liver disease because of HBV.

Abstinence is the only sure prevention of HBV. The use of condoms will reduce the risk of spreading HBV, but it does not eliminate it completely. If HBV is found, it is important to inform all sexual partners so that they can be tested. Patients who are pregnant should inform their doctor immediately that they have HBV so preventive measure can be made for the unborn child. Once HBV is diagnosed, so do not donate blood or organs. Being aware of Hepatitis B symptoms is important in making sure treatment is received promptly to prevent chronic HBV.