Thursday, September 22, 2022

How Do You Catch Hepatitis B And C

Treatment: Chronic Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B and C? – Dr. Eva Urtasun Sotil

The goal of treating chronic hepatitis B is to control the virus and keep it from damaging the liver. This begins with regular monitoring for signs of liver disease. Antiviral medications may help, but not everyone can take them or needs to be on medication. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of antiviral therapy with your doctor.

How Does A Person Get Hepatitis

A person can get hepatitis A through the following sources:

  • Food or water contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person
  • Sexual contact

A person can get hepatitis B in many ways, which include:

  • Having sexual contact with an infected person
  • Sharing needles
  • Being in direct contact with an infected persons blood
  • Transferred from mother to the fetus
  • Getting an infected needle prick
  • Being in contact with an infected persons body fluid

A person can get hepatitis C through:

  • Sharing infected needles
  • Being in direct contact with an infected persons blood
  • Getting an infected needle prick
  • Having sexual contact with an infected person

Hepatitis D can be spread through:

  • Transferred from mother to the fetus
  • Being in contact with the infected fluid or blood
  • A person can get hepatitis D only if they are infected previously with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E mainly infects people who eat or drink food or water contaminated with the virus. Under-cooked foods can also spread hepatitis E. It is more dangerous in pregnant women.

What If You Test Positive

If a test says you have viral hepatitis, you can take steps to protect the ones you love. For hepatitis A, wash hands frequently. For hepatitis B and C, avoid sharing nail clippers, razors, or toothbrushes. Hepatitis B, and sometimes hepatitis C, can be passed through sexual contact. Make sure everyone in your household gets the hepatitis B vaccine. An important step is to see a specialist to discuss treatment options.

Read Also: How Do You Get Hepatitis A And B

Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented Or Avoided

The best way to prevent hepatitis B is to always have protected sex and, if you use intravenous drugs, avoid sharing needles.

A vaccine is available to prevent hepatitis B. It is now routinely given in the first year of life to all newborn infants. It is safe and requires 3 shots over a 6-month period. This vaccine should be given to people who are at high risk for this illness, such as healthcare workers, all children, people who travel to areas where the infection is widespread, drug users, and those who have multiple sex partners.

What Treatments Are Available For Chronic Hepatitis B If Medications Dont Work

Hepatitis b by Sidny Flores

If you have advanced hepatitis B, you might also become a candidate for a liver transplant. This path does not always result in a cure because the virus continues in your bloodstream after a transplant. To prevent being infected again after your transplant, you may be prescribed hepatitis B immunoglobulin with an antiviral agent.

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How To Prevent Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by a virus . It can be serious and theres no cure, but the good news is its easy to prevent. You can protect yourself by getting the hepatitis B vaccine and having safer sex. If you have oral, anal, and vaginal sex, use condoms and dental dams to help stop the spread of hepatitis B and other STDs.

What Should You Know About Hepatitis B Before You Travel

Hepatitis B is quite common in China and other Asian countries, where as many as 1 in 12 people have the virus, though many dont know it. Before traveling to those places, you should make sure youve been vaccinated against the virus.

In addition to getting the vaccine, you can take these additional precautions to reduce your risk of contracting the virus:

  • Refrain from taking illegal drugs.
  • Always use latex or polyurethane condoms during sex.
  • Make sure new, sterile needles are used during all piercings, tattoos and acupuncture sessions.
  • Avoid direct contact with blood and bodily fluids.
  • Know the HBV status of all your sexual partners.
  • Ask your doctor about possible vaccination before you travel to a place where hepatitis B is common.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause serious damage to your health. One reason that is dangerous is that it can easily go undetected for years while damaging your liver. Talk with your healthcare provider about being tested for hepatitis B if you have any reason to believe that you were not vaccinated or if you have engaged in risky behavior. If you do test positive, follow the directions from your healthcare provider so that you can live a longer, healthier and happier life.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/09/2020.

References

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Chronic Hepatitis B And C

Most people with hepatitis B clear the virus from their bodies as they get better. But some dont clear the virus these people have chronic hepatitis B. Some people with chronic hepatitis B stay well for a long time and then get very sick many years later. People with chronic hepatitis B can spread the virus to others even if they do not look or feel sick.

Many people with chronic hepatitis C have no symptoms and dont know they have the disease. However, because the virus is in their bodies, they can spread it to other people. Chronic hepatitis C is a long term illness that can lead to serious liver problems, including scarring of the liver or liver cancer.

What Are Hepatitis B And C

How is Hepatitis C spread? — Mayo Clinic

Hepatitis B and C are diseases caused by the hepatitis B and C viruses.

Hepatitis B and C stop the liver from working properly. Both Hepatitis B and C begin as acute infections , but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and longterm liver problems. Some people with chronic disease develop liver cancer, others might need a liver transplant.

In New Zealand, about 100,000 people are living with hepatitis B and about 50,000 are living with hepatitis C.

Read Also: What Is Hepatitis And How Do You Get It

Can I Catch Hep C From Getting A Tattoo

Its possible to get hepatitis C through tattooing and body piercings if the facility is unlicensed and equipment isnt properly sterilized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Its not all that different than the way you can get hep C from sharing unsanitized personal items like glucose monitors, razors, nail clippers, or toothbrushes, which all have the potential of coming in contact with a persons blood. In licensed tattooing facilities though, theres no documented risk of getting hep C.

Can Hepatitis B And C Be Prevented

Today, all babies get vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus in a series of three shots over a 6-month period. Doctors also recommend “catch-up” vaccination for all kids and teens younger than 19 years old who didn’t get the vaccine as babies or didn’t get all three doses.

Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine for hep C yet.

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Complications Of Hepatitis B

In some people, chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis occurs when the liver cells die and are replaced by scar tissue and fat. The damaged areas of the liver stop working and cant cleanse the body of wastes. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and even liver cancer.

If you have hepatitis B, you are also susceptible to hepatitis D . Hepatitis D can only develop in people who already have hepatitis B. It can make your symptoms of hepatitis B or liver disease worse. It is spread through contact with infected blood or other body fluids of people who have hepatitis D.

What Happens In Your Body With Hep C

What are some causes of Hepatitis C?

Once the virus enters your bloodstream, it heads for your liver. Hepatitis C is a viral infection, and its a virus that lives primarily in the liver, says Dr. Goff. The reason it causes trouble is our immune system tries to get rid of it, but the virus mutates quite quickly, so it keeps alluding being caught. The liver gets caught in the crossfire.

Over time, the chronic infection can lead to serious liver scarring and damage, increasing the risk of life-threatening liver failure and cancer, Dr. Fox says.

Also Check: How Do You Contract Hepatitis A

Who Should Be Tested For Hepatitis

Testing is important for anyone with the risk factors we’ve mentioned, particularly injected drug users and people who have had multiple sex partners. Health advocates are also urging people of Asian heritage to get tested. Stanford University’s Asian Liver Center estimates that 1 in 10 Asians living in the U.S. has chronic hepatitis B. Many of them have probably had the virus since birth.

Also, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that health care providers offer a one-time hepatitis C screening for anyone born between 1945 and 1965.

How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C

Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. In addition to the 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, as of 2017, there is a 2-dose series given over 1 month.

Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or postexposure prophylaxis is available. The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to never inject drugs or to stop injecting drugs by getting into and staying in drug treatment. If you continue injecting drugs, always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment.

Recommended Reading: How Can You Pass Hepatitis C

Keep Personal Items Personal

Any tools or implements that may have a bit of blood on them from infected people are potential sources of hepatitis B or C transmission. Toothbrushes, nail clippers, razors, needles, and washcloths may all contain trace amounts of blood that can transmit infection. Keep personal items such as these to yourself and never use personal items that belong to others.

What Is Involved In A Liver Transplant

How Does Hepatitis C Hurt Your Liver? | WebMD

A liver transplant is considered necessary when the liver is damaged and cannot function or in some cases of liver cancer. Your liver is very important. It is responsible for many functions related to making sure that your body stays healthy and is able to digest foods.

You may be eligible for a transplant if you have chronic hepatitis B infection or some of the diseases that may result from it, including liver cancer and cirrhosis. You will have to complete testing and be evaluated before being approved for a transplant. It is likely that you will be placed on a waiting list while an appropriate organ is found.

Donated livers come from two types of donors: living and deceased. Because the liver can regenerate, it is possible to use part of a liver for transplant. The remaining sections in both the donor and the receiver will grow into livers of adequate size.

People who get liver transplants must take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. These drugs make you more susceptible to infection. However, liver transplants have become more successful over time and continue to improve.

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How Is Hepatitis B Spread

You can become infected with hepatitis B through exposure to blood, semen and other bodily fluids of an infected person. You can get the infection by:

  • Having unprotected sex.
  • Sharing or using dirty needles for drug use, tattoos or piercing.
  • Sharing everyday items that may contain body fluids, including razors, toothbrushes, jewelry for piercings and nail clippers.
  • Being treated medically by someone who does not use sterile instruments.
  • Being bitten by someone with the infection.
  • Being born to a pregnant woman with the infection.

Hepatitis B is not spread by:

  • Kissing on the cheek or lips.
  • Coughing or sneezing.
  • Hugging, shaking hands or holding hands.
  • Eating food that someone with the infection has prepared.
  • Breastfeeding.

Who Should Be Vaccinated

Children

  • All children aged 1223 months
  • All children and adolescents 218 years of age who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine

People at increased risk for hepatitis A

  • International travelers
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who use or inject drugs
  • People with occupational risk for exposure
  • People who anticipate close personal contact with an international adoptee
  • People experiencing homelessness

People at increased risk for severe disease from hepatitis A infection

  • People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • People with HIV

Other people recommended for vaccination

  • Pregnant women at risk for hepatitis A or risk for severe outcome from hepatitis A infection

Any person who requests vaccination

There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C.

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How Common Is Hepatitis C In The United States

In the United States, hepatitis C is the most common chronic viral infection found in blood and spread through contact with blood.14

Researchers estimate that about 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C.13 Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have this infection.

Since 2006, the number of new hepatitis C infections has been rising, especially among people younger than age 30 who inject heroin or misuse prescription opioids and inject them.15,16

New screening efforts and more effective hepatitis C treatments are helping doctors identify and cure more people with the disease. With more screening and treatment, hepatitis C may become less common in the future. Researchers estimate that hepatitis C could be a rare disease in the United States by 2036.17

Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hepatitis C?

Doctors usually recommend one-time screening of all adults ages 18 to 79 for hepatitis C. Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems.

Read Also: Is Hepatitis C Contagious Sexually

How Long Before I Have Symptoms

Many people have mild symptoms or no symptoms, which is why hepatitis is sometimes called a √Ęsilent√Ę disease.

Hepatitis A. The symptoms usually show up 2 to 6 weeks after the virus entered your body. They usually last for less than 2 months, though sometimes you can be sick for as long as 6 months.

Some warning signs that you may have hepatitis A are:

Hepatitis B. The symptoms are the same as hepatitis A, and you usually get them 3 months after you’re infected. They could show up, though, anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months later.

Sometimes the symptoms are mild and last just a few weeks. For some people, the hep B virus stays in the body and leads to long-term liver problems.

Hepatitis C. The early symptoms are the same as hepatitis A and B, and they usually happen 6 to 7 weeks after the virus gets in your body. But you could notice them anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months later.

For about 25% of people who get hep C, the virus goes away on its own without treatment. In other cases, it sticks around for years. When that happens, your liver might get damaged.

Remember, it’s possible to spread all the types of hepatitis even if you don’t show any signs of being sick.

Hepatitis B In The United States

In the United States, about 862,000 people have chronic hepatitis B.6 Asian Americans and African Americans have higher rates of chronic hepatitis B than other U.S. racial and ethnic groups.10 Researchers estimate that about half of the people living with chronic hepatitis B in the United States are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.11 Chronic hepatitis B is also more common among people born in other countries than among those born in the United States.7

The hepatitis B vaccine has been available since the 1980s and, in 1991, doctors began recommending that children in the United States receive the hepatitis B vaccine. The annual rate of acute hepatitis B infections went down 88.5 percent between 1982 and 2015.12 In 2017, the annual number of hepatitis B infections rose in some states.13 Experts think the rise was related to increases in injection drug use. Injection drug use increases the risk of hepatitis B infection.

Read Also: Is Hepatitis A Virus Or Bacteria

Whos At Risk For Hepatitis C

You might be more likely to get it if you:

  • Inject or have injected street drugs
  • Were born between 1945 and 1965
  • Got clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
  • Received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplants before July 1992
  • Got blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for hepatitis C
  • Are on dialysis

Can Hepatitis A Be Prevented

What is Hepatitis B? | How is Hepatitis B Transmitted?

The following will help keep people safe from hepatitis A:

  • regular hand washing, especially after going to the bathroom or diapering a baby, and before eating
  • washing fruits and vegetables before eating them
  • not eating raw shellfish, such as raw oysters
  • getting the vaccine for hep A

Getting vaccinated helps a person’s body make antibodies that protect against hepatitis infection. The hepatitis A vaccine is now given to all kids when they’re between 1 and 2 years old, and to people who are traveling to countries where the virus could get into the food and water supply.

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