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.
Treating Hepatitis C Can Help Alleviate Skin Conditions
The good news is that there have been great advancements in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C using direct-acting antiviral medications, which reduce the viral load significantly enough to cure the infection.
They involve taking pills once a day for eight to 12 weeks, with cure rates above 95 percent, says Kuo. Unlike past treatments for hepatitis C, direct-acting antivirals are also safe and have minimal side effects. Once the hepatitis C is treated, all related skin issues should clear as well.
The Hepatitis B Vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine is used to prevent hepatitis B. Its usually provided in three doses.
The first dose can be taken on a date you choose. The second dose must be taken 1 month later. The third and final dose must be taken 6 months after the first dose.
Some people may need two or four doses of this vaccine.
There is also a newer hepatitis B vaccine thats offered in two doses.
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Living With Hbv And Dealing With Itchy Skin
The previous Hepbtalk blog discussed skin manifestations associated with hepatitis B and liver disease. This is a follow-up with some suggestions on dealing with rashes and pruritus skin. Unfortunately, I have experience with this.
Most people living with HBV have episodes with rashes that itch, or with an itch without the rash. Rashes can be caused by all kinds of things, but the skin truly does let us know when there is something going on with our body. We may not be able to eliminate the itch, but we can work on providing the body with a little relief, and to be sure we do not do anything to make the persistent itching worse.
First, consider the root of the problem. It is possible that your rash and itching are unrelated to the current status of your HBV infection. Unless you have serious liver disease, this might be difficult to pin down since many living with chronic HBV have compensated livers that perform all of the necessary liver functions required for life. That does not mean you arent going crazy with itchy skin, but it is important to look at other factors that may be contributing to your pruritus.
Here are some simple things you can do to help reduce the degree of pruritus:
Got any tips for reducing the itch? Feel free to comment and share your ideas with others living with HBV.
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.
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Rash Symptoms From Acute Hcv Infection
Acute hepatitis C symptoms occur in around 20% of people exposed to the virus. The symptoms usually develop two to 12 weeks after exposure and cause symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to dark urine and jaundice .
A less common symptom of acute HCV infection is urticaria, a widespread, itchy rash also known as hives. Urticaria is characterized by raised, red welts with well-defined borders.
What To Do If You Think You Have Monkeypox
If you suspect you may have monkeypox, the CDC recommends that you seek medical care immediately if you develop a new, unexplained skin rash or lesions on any part of the body.
This could be your dermatologist, your primary care doctor, or an urgent care center, says Dr. King. If monkeypox is suspected, a skin lesion will be swabbed, and the swab will be sent to a lab to do a PCR test for monkeypox. If you are seen by a non-dermatologist and further diagnostic or management help is needed, you may be referred to a dermatologist.
Once you are tested and have a confirmed case of monkeypox, Dr. Massick adds that you may still be contagious for up to 21 days or more.
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What Is Viral Hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to infection with viruses from the hepatotrophic family: hepatitis A , hepatitis B , hepatitis C , hepatitis D , and hepatitis E . Many other viruses can also cause hepatitis this review will focus on the skin changes associated with infection by the known hepatotrophic viruses.
Hepatitis C virus
Blood Tests To Check For Liver Damage
Blood tests may be done to help find out if your liver has been damaged. They include:
- Bilirubin, albumin, and prothrombin time. These help show how well your liver is working. Cholesterol testing also may be done.
- Alanine aminotransferase , aspartate aminotransferase , alkaline phosphatase, and lactic dehydrogenase . These show whether your liver is damaged or inflamed.
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Is Your Rash Caused By Hepatitis C
Rashes and hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is a contagious infection that affects the liver. Chronic cases can even lead to liver failure when left untreated. The liver itself is responsible for a number of functions, including food digestion and infection prevention.
Approximately 4.1 million Americans have HCV.
Skin rashes may be a sign of HCV, and they should not go untreated. Your rash may also be attributed to liver damage and even side effects from HCV treatment.
HCV is characterized by an inflammation of the liver. Since the liver is involved in numerous important functions, your body will be affected when its not working properly. Hepatitis causes a variety of symptoms, the most notable being:
- dark urine and light-colored stools
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse , acute HCV typically lasts for six months or less. During infection, you may experience red, itchy rashes as your body is at work trying to get rid of the virus on its own.
Urticaria is the most common rash in acute HCV. It comes in the form of a widespread, itchy, red rash on the skin. Urticaria can cause the skin to swell, and it often comes in rounds that last for several hours. This type of skin rash also occurs as a result of certain allergic reactions.
HCV can also transition into an ongoing illness. Severe liver damage is most likely to occur in chronic cases. Signs of liver damage may develop on the skin. Skin symptoms include:
What Are Clinical Trials For Hepatitis B
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of hepatitis B, such as
- progression of hepatitis B and long-term outcomes
- new treatments for hepatitis B
- prevention of reactivated or worsening hepatitis B in people receiving cancer treatment
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
Severe Liver Disease And Damage
People with chronic hepatitis C slowly develop worsening liver damage if the disease is left untreated. Eventually, they develop cirrhosis . The loss of liver function contributes to other skin conditions, including:
- Spider nevi, the appearance of tiny blood vessels near the skin surface
- Scratch marks from chronic itching
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Who Is At Risk Of Hepatitis B
Anyone can get hepatitis B if not vaccinated. However, in the U.S., you may be at a higher risk if you:
- Have sex partners that have hepatitis B
- Have HIV or another STD
- Inject drugs or share needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
- Live with someone who has hepatitis B
- Are undergoing dialysis
- Travel to areas that have moderate to high rates of hepatitis B
- Work in health care or public safety and are exposed to blood or body fluids on the job
- Are an infant born to an infected mother
Easy Bleeding And Bruising
Tell your dentist or other doctors before you have any medical procedure. Treat cuts with pressure bandages and get to the doctor right away. In an emergency, youâll get platelets to replace what you lost and Vitamin K to help your blood clot. View a slideshow on the basics of bruises.
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Early Hepatitis C Symptoms
Hepatitis C is typically transmitted through exposure to infected blood, which usually occurs through sharing needles. Many people with a new hepatitis C viral infection do not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:
These symptoms usually begin about two to 12 weeks after exposure to the virus.
Hepatitis B Causes And Risk Factors
Itâs caused by the hepatitis B virus, and it can spread from person to person in certain ways. You can spread the hepatitis B virus even if you donât feel sick.
The most common ways to get hepatitis B include:
- Sex. You can get it if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it and your partnerâs blood, saliva, , or vaginal secretions enter your body.
- Sharing needles. The virus spreads easily via needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.
- Accidental needle sticks.Health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood can get it this way.
- Mother to child.Pregnant women with hepatitis B can pass it to their babies during childbirth. But thereâs a vaccine to prevent newborns from becoming infected.
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Skin Signs Of Chronic Viral Hepatitis
At least 20% of patients with chronic hepatitis due to HBV or HCV develop skin changes, only a few of which are diagnostic of viral hepatitis.
Skin conditions associated with both HBV and HCV
- Cryoglobulinaemia types II and III can present with skin signs of cutaneous vasculitis or systemic vasculitis
- Skin cancer cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
- Dermatomyositis has been reported in association with HBV or HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma, and HCV-induced autoimmunity
- Anti-cardiolipin antibodies without thrombocytopenic thrombosis can be associated with both HBV and HCV, and antiphospholipid syndrome with HCV
Skin conditions more often associated with HBV
Skin conditions more often associated with HCV
Skin signs of possible hepatitis C infection
What Treatments Are Available For Chronic Hepatitis B If Medications Dont Work
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 Common Is It
In 2006, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported the incidence of HBV as 2.0 cases for every 100,000 or about 650 cases reported annually in Canada. In the year 2013, the incident rate was 0.5 per 100,000 . Incidence of the disease varies from region to region but has been declining due to increasing use of the vaccine and universal immunization programs.
What Is Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus . The infection can range in severity from mild to acute. It may last just a few weeks or become a serious, chronic, and potentially fatal health condition.
The best way to prevent this infection is to get the hepatitis B vaccine. Heres what you need to know.
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Return To School Or Child Care
- Your child may return to normal daily activity when the childs doctor or the doctor who discharges him or her from the hospital says it is OK. This will be when your child is no longer jaundiced or vomiting.
- A child who scratches, bites or “gets into fights, has an overall skin condition, or a bleeding problem should probably not attend child care while he or she has hepatitis. Your childs doctor can help you make this decision.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask your childs doctor or nurse.
HH-I-43 10/76, Revised 10/15 Copyright 1976, Nationwide Childrens Hospital
What Is The Outlook For People With Hepatitis B
The outlook for people with HBV is better now than ever before. You are certainly able to live a full life and help yourself stay healthy. You should make sure to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who is qualified to treat hepatitis B, possibly a liver doctor.
Make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis A. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications or over-the-counter products, including supplements and natural products. These could interfere with your medication or damage your liver. For instance, taking acetaminophen in large doses may harm your liver.
Follow the usual guidelines for living a healthy life:
- Eat nutritious foods, choosing from a variety of vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It is said that cruciferous vegetables are especially good at protecting the liver.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke and dont drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are bad for your liver.
- Do things that help you cope with stress, like journaling, talking with others, meditating and doing yoga.
- Avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
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Phases Of Chronic Hbv Infection
Replicative PhaseâImmune Tolerant Phase
In patients who acquire HBV infection during the perinatal period or early childhood, the initial phase is characterized by high HBV replication and no or little immune response. Serum HBV DNA is high and HBeAg is positive, whereas the patients are asymptomatic and ALT level is normal. No or minimal necroinflammation and fibrosis is observed on liver biopsy. Spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion is uncommon at this stage. HBeAg is positive in 90% of children below the age of 5 years and in 80% of teenagers.20 Therefore many women with chronic hepatitis B remain HBeAg positive and have a high viral load at their reproductive age. This explains the high rate of perinatal transmission in Asian and African countries before the introduction of universal vaccination.
The exact mechanism of immune tolerance is unclear. Studies in transgenic mice suggest that exposure to HBeAg results in a state of immune tolerance. Helper T cells become unresponsive to both HBeAg and hepatitis B core antigen because of cross-reactivity.21 Thus cytotoxic T-cell response to hepatitis B core antigen is rendered ineffective. Moreover, after stimulation by recombinant hepatitis B core antigen, peripheral blood mononuclear cells fail to proliferate and produce interleukin-2 receptors.22
Replicative PhaseâImmune Clearance Phase
Low or Nonreplicative Phase
T. Shaw, S.A. Locarnini, in, 2004