Monday, May 23, 2022

How To Know You Have Hepatitis

How Do People Get The Hbv Virus

Hepatitis C: What Baby Boomers Need to Know

Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood of people with HBV infection. It enters the body through blood-to-blood contact.

Reliable blood tests for HBV were developed many years ago. Since blood donors and blood products are tested for HBV, this is no longer the typical means of infection.

In many parts of the world, hepatitis B virus infects more than 8% of the population. HBV-infected women pass the infection to their babies during the birth process. People can also get hepatitis B by sharing needles for injection drug use, through sexual contact with an infected person, by an accidental needlestick with a contaminated needle, or from improperly sterilized medical, acupuncture, piercing, or tattooing equipment.

Is There A Cure For Chronic Hepatitis B

Currently, there is no complete cure for hepatitis B. But when managed properly, those living with the virus can expect to live a normal life. Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are crucial components in managing the disease.

You should also visit a doctor familiar with hepatitis B at least annuallythough twice a year might be best to monitor your liver through blood tests and medical imaging. As with most diseases, detecting it early leads to a better outcome. If youre exposed to the virus, you should get an antibody injection within 12 hours of exposure.

What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Hepatitis B

Due to the way that hepatitis B spreads, people most at risk for getting infected include:

  • Children whose mothers have been infected with hepatitis B.
  • Children who have been adopted from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection.
  • People who have unprotected sex and/or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
  • People who live with or work in an institutional setting, such as prisons or group homes.
  • Healthcare providers and first responders.
  • People who share needles or syringes.
  • People who live in close quarters with a person with chronic hepatitis B infection.
  • People who are on dialysis.

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Symptoms Of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C often doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. This means many people have the infection without realising it.

When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition. Symptoms can include:

  • flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high temperature
  • feeling tired all the time
  • loss of appetite

Read more about the complications of hepatitis C.

How Is Viral Hepatitis Spread

Symptoms and warning signs of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A and hepatitis E usually spread through contact with food or water that was contaminated with an infected person’s stool. You can also get hepatitis E by eating undercooked pork, deer, or shellfish.

Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D spread through contact with the blood of someone who has the disease. Hepatitis B and D may also spread through contact with other body fluids. This can happen in many ways, such as sharing drug needles or having unprotected sex.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Hepatitis B

About 1 in 20 people who get hepatitis B as adults become carriers, which means they have a chronic hepatitis B infection. Carriers are more likely to pass hepatitis B to other people. Most carriers are contagious meaning they can spread hepatitis B for the rest of their lives.

Hepatitis B infections that last a long time may lead to serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer. About 1 in 5 people with chronic hepatitis B die from it. There are medicines that can help treat chronic hepatitis B infections.

Most babies who get hepatitis B develop chronic infection, unless they get treated right away. But treatments almost always work if your baby gets them quickly. Thats why its important for pregnant people to get tested for hepatitis B.

How Can I Tell If I Have The Disease

If you have hepatitis A you might get a sudden fever or headache and feel tired. You might not want to eat as much as usual, and you may feel queasy. You may vomit or have stomach pain. Some people with the disease have chills, aching muscles and joints, cough, diarrhea, constipation, or itchy skin.

Later in the disease you may have jaundice , and your feces may be pale or clay colored. Rarely, the brain can be affected. This can cause confusion, unusual eye and body movements, and even coma.

Your doctor can do a blood test to see if you have the disease. Other things your doctor may look for are a painful and large liver, spleen, or lymph nodes, and a slow heart rate.

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What Should You Know About Pregnancy And Hepatitis B

A pregnant woman who has hepatitis B can pass the infection to her baby at delivery. This is true for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.

You should ask your healthcare provider to test you for hepatitis B when you find out you are pregnant. However, while it is important for you and your healthcare provider to know if you do have hepatitis B, the condition should not affect the way that your pregnancy progresses.

If you do test positive, your provider may suggest that you contact another healthcare provider, a liver doctor, who is skilled in managing people with hepatitis B infections. You may have a high viral load and may need treatment during the last 3 months of your pregnancy. A viral load is the term for how much of the infection you have inside of you.

You can prevent your infant from getting hepatitis B infection by making sure that your baby gets the hepatitis B vaccine in the hours after they are born along with the hepatitis B immunoglobulin. These two shots are given in two different locations on the baby. They are the first shots needed.

Depending on the type of vaccine used, two or three more doses must be given, usually when the baby is 1 month old and then 6 months old, with the last by the time the baby is 1 year old. It is critical that all newborns get the hepatitis B vaccination, but even more important if you have hepatitis B yourself.

Testing For Hepatitis C

What to know about Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is usually diagnosed using 2 blood tests: the antibody test and the PCR test. These can be as part of a routine blood test or are often combined as a dried blood spot test. The dried blood spot test is similar to a blood sugar test in pricking the finger to get a blood spot that is put on a testing card. This is then sent to a laboratory to be tested.

Another similar test is an antigen test, which if used can often get the results back in 90 minutes. This is very expensive and not many services have access to the machine needed.

Also Check: New Treatment For Hepatitis B

Tests To Diagnose Hepatitis C

How is Hepatitis C diagnosed?

There are two main blood tests typically used to diagnose Hepatitis C. First, youll have a screening test that shows if youve ever had Hepatitis C at some point in your life. If this test is positive, youll have a second test to see if you have Hepatitis C now. These blood tests are described below:

Hepatitis C antibody test

This is the screening test used by doctors to show whether or not you have ever been exposed to Hepatitis C at some time in your life, by detecting antibodies in your blood. Antibodies are substances your body makes to fight off all kinds of infections. If you were ever infected with Hepatitis C, your body would have made antibodies to fight the virus.

If the test result is:

  • Negative, it means you have not been exposed to Hepatitis C and further testing is usually not needed.
  • Positive, you have had Hepatitis C at some point. However, it does not tell you whether you have it now. Youll need to see your doctor for another test the Hepatitis C RNA test to determine if the virus is still active and present in your blood.

Hepatitis C RNA Qualitative Test

This test will determine whether or not you are currently infected with Hepatitis C. It is often called the PCR test because of the process used . It looks for the genetic material of the Hepatitis C virus in your blood.

If the test result is:

Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test

Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented

The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the best ways to control the disease. It is safe, effective and widely available. More than one billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally since 1982. The World Health Organization says the vaccine is 98-100% effective in guarding against the virus. Newborns should be vaccinated.

The disease has also been more widely prevented thanks to:

  • Widespread global adoption of safe blood-handling practices. WHO says 97% of the blood donated around the world is now screened for HBV and other diseases.
  • Safer blood injection practices, using clean needles.
  • Safe-sex practices.

You can help prevent hepatitis B infections by:

  • Practicing safe sex .
  • Never sharing personal care items like toothbrushes or razors.
  • Getting tattoos or piercings only at shops that employ safe hygiene practices.
  • Not sharing needles to use drugs.
  • Asking your healthcare provider for blood tests to determine if you have HBV or if you are immune.

Recommended Reading: How To Manage Hepatitis C

How Is Hepatitis B Prevented

Testing & Vaccination

  • The hepatitis B vaccine offers excellent protection against HBV. The vaccine is safe and highly effective. Vaccination consists of 3 doses of vaccine over the course of 6 months. Protection lasts for 20 years to life.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children should receive hepatitis B vaccine starting at birth. .
  • The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccine for persons traveling to countries where HBV is common .
  • If you have one or more risk factors for hepatitis B infection, you should get a simple HBV blood test. The blood test will determine whether you are:
  • immune to hepatitis B or
  • susceptible to hepatitis B and need vaccination or
  • infected with hepatitis B and need further evaluation by a physician
  • The basic test for acute HBV infection is called the Hepatitis B Core IgM Antibody test. People who have acute hepatitis B show positive IgM antibodies on this test.
  • Perinatal Hepatitis

    • California law requires testing of all pregnant women for hepatitis B infection
    • If the mother is HBV-infected, she will pass the infection to the baby during the birth process, unless the baby gets immunized within hours of birth
    • Giving the infant HBIG and HBV vaccine right away will reliably prevent infection of the infant
    • Other family members should best tested for hepatitis B too, and given vaccine if they are not already infected or immune

    Healthy Habits

    After Exposure to Hepatitis B

    Sharing Toothbrushes Scissors And Razors

    10 Warning Signs of Hepatitis B Infection You Should NEVER ...

    There’s a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and scissors, as they can become contaminated with infected blood.

    Equipment used by hairdressers, such as scissors and clippers, can pose a risk if it has been contaminated with infected blood and not been sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.

    Recommended Reading: Hepatitis C Transmission Routes Cdc

    How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Hepatitis C

    Now that you know how you get hepatitis C, you can take steps to protect yourself from the virus. For instance:

    • Avoid sharing needles or other paraphernalia related to intravenous drugs.
    • Wear gloves if youre a health care worker or otherwise exposed to needles or potentially infected blood.
    • Use barrier methodsaka condomsoutside of sexually monogamous relationships.
    • Dont share toothbrushes or other dental equipment, nail clippers, or shaving tools.
    • If youre getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the artist or piercer uses sterile ink and needles.

    If you have the hepatitis C virus, you can prevent passing it along to others by following those same steps, in addition to:

    • Covering any open sores or wounds.
    • Telling all your health and dental care providers you have the virus.
    • Avoiding donating blood.

    How Do You Know If You Have A Hepatitis A Infection

    Hepatitis A is a very contagious virus that can cause serious illness and death. In recent years, a huge hepatitis A outbreak in the United States has been ongoing since 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 30,000 people have. even sickened, almost 19,000 patients have been hospitalized, and more than 300 people have died. How do you know if you have a hepatitis A infection?

    While most of these illnesses have occurred in certain populations, such as the homeless and drug users, this virus can infect people through contaminated food and drink. A hepatitis A outbreak in 2019, which has not yet been declared over, was linked to Fresh Thyme blackberries. And a hepatitis A outbreak at the Mendham Golf and Tennis Club in Mendham Township, New Jersey sickened 23 people.

    One of the issues with this illness is that an infected person is contagious for about two weeks before symptoms appear. Someone working with food and drink in a restaurant can potentially sicken many people before they even know they are ill. So how do you know if you have a hepatitis A infection?

    Hepatitis A Symptoms

    These symptoms can appear within 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. And people can be sick for a few weeks up to several months.

    Complications

    Protect Yourself

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    How Serious Is It

    • People can be sick for a few weeks to a few months
    • Most recover with no lasting liver damage
    • Although very rare, death can occur
    • 15%25% of chronically infected people develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer
    • More than 50% of people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection
    • 5%-25% of people with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis over 1020 years

    Who Do I Need To Tell That I Have Hepatitis C

    Free screening can help you know whether you have Hep C

    It is up to you who you tell that you have hepatitis C.

    Your health information is confidential. If you dont want to, you do not have to tell your employer, landlord, school, family or friends.

    You may want to tell certain friends or family members that you have hepatitis C so they can help or support you if you need it.

    When deciding who to tell about your hepatitis C, take your time. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Who will try to understand?
    • Who will respect my privacy?
    • Who will listen to my feelings?
    • Who will give me emotional support?

    You may also want to think about these questions before you tell someone:

    • Where would you feel safe telling them?
    • What questions would you feel comfortable answering?
    • Do you want someone with you when you tell others, for example, a friend, doctor, nurse, or other healthcare worker?

    Remember, there is no rush to tell people you have hepatitis C.

    Read Also: What Is Hepatitis B Vaccine For

    What Is Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis B is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus . The natural course of hepatitis B disease is different from one person to another.

    Treatment with anti-viral drugs works for some people with HBV who are starting to develop liver damage. Whether treatment will be successful depends on many factors, and these are best discussed with a physician who specializes in liver diseases. When treatment is successful, liver scarring and the potential for liver cancer are reduced.

    If I Dont Like How People Are Treating Me Because I Have Hepatitis C What Can I Do

    Some people you tell about your hepatitis C may not react the way you would hope. This can make you feel bad. Nobody has the right to judge you because you have hepatitis C.

    It is against the law for someone to treat you differently, or discriminate against you, because you have an illness or a disability.

    Remember that you, and everyone else, have the right to healthcare. You may find that some doctors do not want to treat your hepatitis C if you use street drugs. But treatment guidelines are clear, people who use street drugs can be treated for hepatitis C.

    Think about joining a support group

    • to help you deal with having hepatitis C
    • if others are treating you differently
    • to meet other people with hepatitis C

    Some support groups meet in person and some meet online.

    If your problems are affecting your life, such as your ability to work or get proper care, you may want to talk to someone who can help with your rights, such as at your local human rights tribunal. See Where can I get more information about hepatitis C? for information on how to find a tribunal near you.

    You may want to give some information about hepatitis C to certain people in your life or ask someone else to give it to them. Learning more about hepatitis C can help your friends or family members to be more open and to give you the emotional comfort or other help you may need.

    Also Check: Antiviral Drugs For Hepatitis A

    What Do Hepatitis C Symptoms Look Like

    Hepatitis C infection can go through two stages: acute and chronic. In the early, or acute stage, most people don’t have symptoms. If they do develop symptoms, these can include:

    • flu-like symptoms, tiredness, high temperature and aches and pains
    • loss of appetite
    • tummy pain
    • jaundice, meaning your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow

    While for some people, the infection will clear without treatment, in most cases, acute infection will develop into long-term chronic infection. Chronic infection may not become apparent for a number of years until the liver displays signs of damage. These symptoms can include:

    • mental confusion and depression these are specific to hepatitis C
    • constantly feeling tired
    • nausea, vomiting or tummy pain
    • dark urine
    • feeling bloated
    • joint and muscle pain

    Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver , which can cause the liver to stop working properly. A small number of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer and these complications can lead to death. Other than a liver transplant, theres no cure for cirrhosis. However, treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.

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