How Could I Get Hepatitis B
You could get hepatitis B through contact with an infected persons blood, semen, or other body fluid. This contact could occur by
- being born to a mother with hepatitis B
- getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
- having unprotected sex with an infected person
- having contact with blood or open sores of an infected person
- sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
- being tattooed or pierced with unsterilized tools that were used on an infected person
- using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
You could get hepatitis B from having unprotected sex with an infected person.
You cannot get hepatitis B from
- shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
- being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
- hugging an infected person
- light-colored stools
- yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice
When symptoms occur, they can begin 2 to 5 months after coming into contact with the virus. See a doctor right away if you or a child in your care has symptoms of hepatitis B.
Diagnosis Of Hepatitis B
Blood tests are available to determine if you are or have been infected with hepatitis B. It may take 6 months from the time of infection before a blood test can detect antibodies to hepatitis B, so follow-up testing may be required. During this 6-month period, until you know whether you are infected or not, take action to prevent potential infection of other people.
There are also tests that can assess liver damage from hepatitis B. The interpretation of these tests can be complicated and specialist advice is needed, so talk to your doctor.
All pregnant women are tested for hepatitis B. If you are found to have chronic hepatitis B, your doctor can help reduce the risk of transferring the infection to your newborn child.
What Is Chronic Hepatitis B
Chronic hepatitis B is a long-lasting infection with the hepatitis B virus. Chronic hepatitis B occurs when the body cant get rid of the hepatitis B virus. Children, especially infants, are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B, which usually has no symptoms until signs of liver damage appear.
Without treatment, chronic hepatitis B can cause liver cancer or severe liver damage that leads to liver failure. Liver failure occurs when the liver stops working properly.
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Chronic Hepatitis B Symptoms
Most patients with chronic hepatitis B are asymptomatic unless their disease progresses. Others might have nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue.
Some patients experience worsening of the infection and develop signs and symptoms similar to acute hepatitis.
If patients with chronic hepatitis B progress to cirrhosis they will develop signs and symptoms of liver failure, including:
- Peripheral edema
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
What You Can Do
Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
- Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Someone who accompanies you may help you remember the information you receive.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Listing questions for your doctor can help you make the most of your time together. For hepatitis B infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
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Preparing For An Appointment
You’re likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases, you may be referred immediately to a specialist. Doctors who specialize in treating hepatitis B include:
- Doctors who treat digestive diseases
- Doctors who treat liver diseases
- Doctors who treat infectious diseases
Treatment For Acute Hepatitis B
If you’re diagnosed with hepatitis B, your GP will usually refer you to a specialist, such as a hepatologist .
Many people do not have any troublesome symptoms, but if you do feel unwell, it can help to:
- get plenty of rest
- take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, for tummy pain
- maintain a cool, well-ventilated environment, wear loose clothing, and avoid hot baths or showers if itching is a problem
- take medication, such as metoclopramide, to stop you feeling sick, and chlorphenamine to reduce itching your doctor can give you a prescription for these if necessary
Most people recover completely in a couple of months, but you’ll be advised to have regular blood tests to check that you’re free of the virus and have not developed chronic hepatitis B.
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Prevalence Of Hbv Infection In Canada
The prevalence of HBV infection may vary among population subgroups in Canada. In previous studies of selected populations in Canada, HBsAg seroprevalence rates were estimated to be between 0.24% to 0.47% in people aged 14 to 30 years from a Northern Ontario town Footnote 3. These rates were estimated to be 5% to 15% in adults from Southeast Asia Footnote 4, and 0.1% to 0.5% in Canadian first-time blood donors Footnote 5. In a 1995 survey of 1200 school children aged 8 to 10 years in QuÃ©bec, none were found to be positive for HBsAg, or antibody to the HBV core antigen Footnote 6.
How Hepatitis B Is Spread
The virus is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter another person’s body. This usually happens through:
- Sexual contact. The hepatitis B virus can enter the body through a break in the lining of the rectum, vagina, urethra , or mouth.
- Sharing needles and other equipment used for injecting illegal drugs.
- Work tasks. People who handle blood or instruments used to draw blood may become infected. Health care workers are at risk of infection if they are accidentally stuck with a used needle or other sharp instrument that has an infected person’s blood on it. Infection also can occur if blood splashes onto an exposed surface, such as the eyes, the mouth, or a cut in the skin.
- Childbirth. A newborn baby can get the virus from his or her mother. This can happen during delivery when the baby comes in contact with the mother’s body fluids in the birth canal. But breastfeeding doesn’t spread the virus from a woman to her child.
- Body piercings and tattoos. The virus may be spread when needles used for body piercing or tattooing aren’t sterilized and infected blood enters a person’s skin.
- Toiletries. Grooming items such as razors and toothbrushes can spread the virus if they carry blood from a person who is infected.
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How To Rid Your Body Of Mercury And Other Heavy Metals: A 3
After my recent blog on mercury, I’m sure many of you are depressed and discouraged about mercury and its toxic effects. The bad news is today I am going to review more of mercury’s toxic effects and expand on what I learned at the medical conference on mercury I mentioned in my last article on mercury …
But the good news is I will provide you with a clear, three-step plan to help your body detoxify from mercury and other heavy metals and recover your health. I have used this same plan successfully and safely with hundreds and hundreds of patients over the last 10 years — and it’s the same process I used myself to overcome mercury toxicity!
But first, let’s look at the data presented at “The Impact of Mercury on Human Health and the Environment” conference.
In my last article on mercury toxicity, I talked a little bit about the link between mercury fillings and autism. Now I’d like to discuss mercury’s effects on this condition in greater detail.
Boyd Haley, Ph.D., from the University of Kentucky Medical Center, is a vociferous opponent of dental amalgams. The toxicology literature and decades of his own research fuel his fervor.
The National Institutes of Health funded his research for 25 years until he began to seriously call into question the safety of dental amalgams, the use of thimerosol in vaccines, and their correlation with autism.
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Treatment For Chronic Infection
Treatment for hepatitis B does not cure hepatitis B but works to delay or even to prevent complications from developing, like liver damage and ‘scarring’ of the liver . People with chronic hepatitis B usually need treatment to stop or to reduce the activity of the virus, so limiting liver damage. A liver specialist will usually advise on when treatment may be beneficial. There are two types of treatment currently given:
- Interferon. This medicine is similar to a substance produced in your body, which is also called interferon. It works to fight infections by boosting your immune system. Interferon is usually given as an injection each week.
- Antiviral medicines. These work by stopping the hepatitis B virus from multiplying in the body. They include lamivudine, adefovir, tenofovir, and entecavir. Your doctor will discuss these in more detail with you, as the medicine used can vary between people. A combination of antiviral medicines is sometimes used.
Treatment with medicines is usually continued for many years.
Side-effects with these medicines can occur. You will be monitored regularly while you are taking treatment, which includes blood tests. Some people need to change their medicines, or take a lower strength, if they have troublesome side-effects. Also, in some people, resistance can develop to their treatment medicine, which means that it does not work so well. If this happens then it is likely you will have to change the medicine you take.
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From Person To Person
Blood and other bodily fluids, such as semen and vaginal secretions, contain the virus in infected people. The main ways in which people in the UK become infected include the following:
- Having unprotected sex with an infected person. Even having oral sex can transmit hepatitis B.
- From infected blood. You only need a tiny amount of infected blood to come into contact with a cut or wound on your body to allow the virus to enter your bloodstream, multiply and cause infection. For example:
- Sharing needles and/or any injecting equipment to inject drugs. Even a tiny amount of blood left on a needle from an infected person is enough to cause spread to others.
- Some people who had a blood transfusion or another blood product several years ago were infected with hepatitis B. Now, all blood donated in the UK is checked for the hepatitis B virus . So, the risk of getting hepatitis B from a blood transfusion in the UK is now very small.
- From ‘needlestick’ accidents where the needle was used on an infected person.
- There is a small risk of contracting the virus from sharing toothbrushes, razors and other such items which may be contaminated with blood. The virus can actually live outside the body for more than one week.
- From using equipment which is not sterile for dental work, medical procedures, tattooing, body piercing, etc.
- A bite from an infected person, or if their blood spills on to a wound on your skin, or on to your eyes or into your mouth.
The Hepatitis B Vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the most effective ways to prevent hepatitis B. Its usually divided into three doses, which are given over the course of six months. In many countries, infants receive their first dose of the vaccine at birth.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all children under the age of 19 be vaccinated if they havent already received the vaccination. Adults can also get the hepatitis B vaccine, and its generally recommended if you have an increased risk of infection due to:
- traveling to or living in a region where hepatitis B is common
- being sexually active with more than one partner
- working in a medical setting
- using intravenous drugs
If youve been exposed to the hepatitis B virus and havent been vaccinated, try to see a doctor right away. They can administer the first dose of the vaccine, though youll need to follow up to receive the remaining doses over the next few months.
They can also prescribe a medication called
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
If you’ve been infected with hepatitis B, take steps to protect others from the virus.
- Make sex safer. If you’re sexually active, tell your partner you have HBV and talk about the risk of transmitting it to him or her. Use a new latex condom every time you have sex, but remember that condoms reduce but don’t eliminate the risk.
- Tell your sexual partner to get tested. Anyone with whom you’ve had sex needs to be tested for the virus. Your partners also need to know their HBV status so that they don’t infect others.
- Don’t share personal care items. If you use IV drugs, never share needles and syringes. And don’t share razor blades or toothbrushes, which may carry traces of infected blood.
Basis Of Hbv Persistence
Understanding the basis for HBV persistence is critical in designing therapeutic strategies to eradicate HBV. Chronic HBV infection is characterized by an evolving interplay between viral replication and host immune responses. Both viral and host factors contribute to persistence of HBV. Highly efficient and unique replication mechanism of the virus uses a transcriptional template, cccDNA that is sequestered inside the nucleus, and escapes detection by innate DNA sensing cellular machinery. Another factor is the production of viral proteins , which function as a tolerogen and leads to T-cell exhaustion . Advancement in the understanding of the mechanisms involved in HBV persistence has helped to develop strategies that overcome these factors and could result in sustained virologic remission.
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What To Think About
- Interferons have common side effects, including fever, headaches, and hair loss. They may also cause mental problems or make them worse.
- If you have cirrhosis, you cannot use interferons. But you can use adefovir, entecavir, lamivudine, telbivudine, and tenofovir.
- After any kind of treatment for hepatitis B, the virus may become active again .
How To Help Stop The Spread Of Hepatitis B
There are several things you can do to help stop the spread of this disease. Please follow these instructions until your doctor tells you the child with hepatitis is completely well:
- Good hand washing by all family members must be done. Hands should be washed using soap and warm water before meals, after using the bathroom and before preparing or serving food.
- Wash your hands after caring for your child. You may have come in contact with the hepatitis B virus from such things as changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, or exposure to blood.
- Wear disposable gloves when handling blood . Wash your hands after removing the gloves.
- Hepatitis B can be spread by sexual activity. Not having sex is the best way to keep Hepatitis B from being spread sexually. If an infected person has sex, a condom should be used every time. Condoms should be used until the doctor says there is no longer any risk of spreading the disease.
- All family members who are not infected should get Hepatitis B vaccines .
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What Causes Hepatitis B
It’s caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person.
You may get hepatitis B if you:
- Have sex with an infected person without using a condom.
- Get a tattoo or piercing with tools that weren’t sterilized.
A mother who has the virus can pass it to her baby during delivery. Medical experts recommend that all pregnant women get tested for hepatitis B. If you have the virus, your baby can get shots to help prevent infection with the virus.
You cannot get hepatitis B from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or drinks.
Who Should Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine
All newborn babies should get vaccinated. You should also get the shot if you:
- Come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of friends or family members
- Use needles to take recreational drugs
- Have sex with more than one person
- Are a health care worker
- Work in a day-care center, school, or jail
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What Is The Role Of A Liver Biopsy In Chronic Hepatitis B
During a liver biopsy, a small sample of liver tissue is collected and examined under the microscope. This test is valuable because this sample reflects the health of the liver. It can show the amount of liver injury . Liver biopsy is not routinely needed to diagnose hepatitis B, but it is used for monitoring the progression of liver damage in people with chronic hepatitis and helping to choose or evaluate treatment options.
If I Am Infected How Can I Prevent Passing On The Virus To Others
If you have a current hepatitis B infection you should:
- Avoid having sex with anyone until they have been fully immunised and checked with a blood test to see that the immunisation has worked.
- Not share any injecting equipment such as needles, syringes, etc.
- Not donate blood or semen or carry a donor card.
- Not share razors, toothbrushes, etc, that may be contaminated with blood.
- Cover any cuts or wounds with a dressing.
- Make sure that, if any of your blood spills on to the floor or other surfaces following an accident, it is cleaned away with bleach.
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