Hepatitis B – The Symptoms, Causes, and Precautions

Hepatitis B is a severe liver infection. It causes inflammation and reddening that can further lead to liver deterioration. Hepatitis B has also been termed Hep B and can be fatal. A, B, C, D, and E are five different categories of hepatitis. Each one of these is a different type of virus. Hepatitis B infection can be an acute infection and chronic. The initial infection that you get is acute. It is reversible, and many people recover from it. If the infection stays six months or even longer, you have a chronic infection of hepatitis B. It is long-lasting. Chronic hepatitis B leads to inflammation, can be fatal, and causes liver cancer. Various treatments can slow down the disease progress, reduce liver cancer possibilities, and increase the chances of living.

Symptoms of hepatitis B:

Symptoms of hepatitis B may be from mild to severe. They usually start appearing after one to four months of infection, although they are visible as early as two weeks post-infection. Usually, young people may not have any symptoms. Most of the individuals do not show signs and come to know through blood tests. 90% of the adults who get hepatitis B recover from their symptoms.

Hepatitis B symptoms may include:

  • Fever.
  • Loss of hunger or appetite.
  • Diarrhea or loose stool.
  • Constipation.
  • Jaundice.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Dark urine.
  • Joint pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Weakness and fatigue.

Causes of hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus and spreads among people through the blood, semen, or other body fluids. Hepatitis B does not spread through food, water, shared utensils, coughing or sneezing, or through touch. HBV can spread through:

  • Everyday items: Using and sharing daily items that carry body fluids that include razors or shavers, toothbrushes, nail clippers, and jewelry for the piercings.
  • Sexual contact: Unprotected sex with someone infected can transmit the infection. The infection can pass to you if the person’s saliva, blood, semen, or vaginal secretions enter your body.
  • Sharing of needles: HBV easily spreads through needles and syringes that carry infected blood.
  • Mother to child: Pregnant ladies infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth.

Precautions for hepatitis B:

Precautions of hepatitis B include:

  • Do not engage in unprotected sex.
  • Do not use illegal drugs.
  • Be cautious about body piercing and tattooing. Always ask about how the equipment is cleaned. Make sure the employees use sterile needles.
  • Get a hepatitis B vaccine before you travel.
  • If you are traveling to a neighborhood where hepatitis B is common, ask your doctor about the hepatitis B vaccine beforehand. It is usually given in a series of three injections over six months.

Treatment for hepatitis B:

Acute hepatitis B does not need treatment. People will overcome an acute infection on their own if they have strong immunity. But, rest and hydration are strongly recommended to recover. Antiviral medications can be used to treat chronic hepatitis B to fight against the virus.

A liver transplant is done if hepatitis B has severely damaged your liver.

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