Saturday, June 19, 2021
 Your Physical Health And Well Being

Quick Facts Regarding Hepatitis B (HBV) Infections

Body with a damaged liver image highlighted with the caption Hepatitis B

Anyone can get hepatitis B, but certain groups of people are at higher risk.

Hepatitis B (HBV) is one strain of the Hepatitis viruses resulting in inflammation of the liver. It is potentially life-threatening.

Need-to-Know Facts about Hepatitis B: 

  • Hepatitis B (HBV) is a contagious liver disease. This condition begins from infection with the Hepatitis B virus.
  • HBV can spread from person to person.
  • Symptoms can take two to six months to appear.
  • HBV can be either acute or chronic. 
  • HVB begins as an acute infection. The acute hepatitis B infection is a short-term illness. 
  • An acute infection may not develop into a chronic condition..
  • Sometimes the virus takes root in the body eventually, developing into a chronic disease.  
  • Chronic HBV infection triggers the long-term illness.
  • The chronic inflammatory process leads to continuing liver problems like cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer.
  • HBV that's present in persons with HIV is known as a coinfection. 

Infection Process:

Hepatitis B infection occurs through blood, semen, other body fluids, or unprotected sex with a person who has HBV. When the hepatitis B virus enters a body that is not infected, the disease takes root.

Additional reasons for the spread are direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person. Similarly, sharing of injection needles, syringes, or drug-injection equipment.

Many people with a chronic hepatitis B infection do not know they are infected. Because the infected person may not feel or look sick. However, despite this, they can spread the virus to others. 

Symptoms:

Symptoms of acute Hepatitis B may not be noticeable immediately after infection. Symptoms can take between two and six months before appearing. When symptoms surface, they include clay-colored bowel movements, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever. 

Evident also is joint pain, tiredness, fatigue, or dark urine.

Most people with chronic HBV do not have any symptoms. And they may not have symptoms for several years. The first sign of having chronic HBV infection may be the abnormal results on a liver function test. 

Management Of HBV:

The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting the hepatitis B vaccine. The hepatitis B vaccine is a 3-4 shot therapy over six months. It is safe and effective.

There is no cure if you have a Hepatitis B infection. It is treated with antiviral medicines to help limit damage to the liver. Persons with HIV/HBV coinfection receive treatment for both viruses. Some HIV medicines are effective in treating both HIV and HBV.

It is judicious to get the vaccine if you have sex partners who have Hepatitis B. You may be at risk of getting infected.

Additionally, if in close household contact with someone infected with the hepatitis B virus, get vaccinated to protect yourself. Do not share personal hygiene items. When sexually active and not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, you need to safeguard your well-being. 

If you are a traveler to regions with moderate or high rates of Hepatitis B, protecting yourself is valid for your good health. 

It is not prudent to share needles, syringes, or any drug-injection equipment with someone who has HBV. Ensure the use of sterilized instruments if you get body piercings or tattoos,

Help prevent Hep B from spreading if you are infected. Talk to your health care provider about the best choices for you.

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