Hepatitis is a viral condition in which the liver is inflammed and unable to properly function.
While some people who have Hepatitis B may not show any symptoms at all, others may have symptoms like:
Hepatitis B is very serious. It can lead to complications like:
Those who recover completely from Hepatitis B infection become immune to the disease. However, 1 in 10 people who get infected with the virus become carriers. A carrier is someone who carries the Hepatitis B virus permanently in their body. Hepatitis B carriers seldom show any symptoms. However, they can:
If you have never been vaccinated or do not have antibodies from having a previous Hepatitis B infection, you are at risk of Hepatitis B infection.
The Hepatitis B virus is spread through the following ways:
To minimise your risk of Hepatitis B infection, avoid situations that put you at risk.
Get vaccinated. The Hepatitis B vaccination is safe and extremely effective if you complete all three doses:
1st dose: at the appointed date2nd dose: 1 month after the first date3rd dose: 6 months after the 2nd dose
Make sure you complete all three doses.
For children, there are also some combination vaccines that contain protection against Hepatitis B as well as other common illnesses. Combination vaccines include other necessary childhood immunisations and are beneficial in that it reduces the number of shots a child must take at one time. Speak to your child's doctor to understand what is recommended for your child.
Regardless of the type of Hepatitis B vaccine you take, you need to complete all of the recommended doses.
Fact: Hepatitis B is found in the blood and body fluids of someone with the infection. You can get Hepatitis B by coming into contact with the blood, semen or other bodily fluids from an infected person. This can happen through unprotected sex, sharing needles or syringes, and using unclean equipment at barber shops and tattoo parlours. Additionally, pregnant women can also spread the virus to their babies during childbirth.
Hepatitis B cannot be spread through coughing, sneezing, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing or sharing of utensils.
Medical professionals are also at risk of Hepatitis B and should follow proper procedures for protecting themselves.
This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
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