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What If You Have Hepatitis B

Who Should Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine

What you need to know about Hepatitis B

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

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 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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How Many People Have Hepatitis B

In the United States, an estimated 862,000 people were chronically infected with HBV in 2016. New cases of HBV infection in the United States had been decreasing until 2012. Since that time, reported cases of acute hepatitis B have been fluctuating around 3,000 cases per year. In 2019, 3,192 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported however, because of low case detection and reporting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were 20,700 acute hepatitis B infections. New HBV infections are likely linked to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.

Globally, HBV is the most common blood-borne infection with an estimated 296 million people infected according to the World Health Organization .

What Are The Symptoms

How Long Can You Live If You Have Hepatitis B
  • Symptoms can take 2 to 6 months to appear.
  • Many people who are infected with hepatitis B have either no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
  • Symptoms of acute hepatitis B can include fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and dark urine. A small number of people will develop jaundice .
  • Some people develop chronic hepatitis B and most remain contagious for the rest of their lives. Chronic infection may lead to cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. Most people with chronic hepatitis B are unaware of their infection.

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What Are The Complications Of Hepatitis B

The course of hepatitis B infection depends mostly on the age at which a person is infected.

People infected as infants are likely to develop long term infection and can get complications such as scarring of the liver or liver cancer. Infants have a 9 in 10 chance and children have a 3 in 10 chance of developing a chronic, lifelong infection.

People infected as teenagers or adults are likely to become unwell with symptoms , but have a smaller chance of developing a chronic infection. Others develop a silent infection, without any symptoms.

Most people infected as adults clear the virus from the body within 6 months. They develop immunity to future hepatitis B infections and do not develop long-term liver damage.

However, approximately 1 in 20 adults cannot clear the virus and develop chronic hepatitis B. They are at risk of developing complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer in the longer term.

How To Reduce Your Risk

Dont share needles or other drug-use equipment. If you use intravenous drugs, take part in a needle exchange program.

Dont share personal care articles, such as razors, scissors, nail clippers or toothbrushes, with an infected person.

If you get a tattoo, body piercing or acupuncture, make sure all equipment is clean and sterile. Needles should always be new, not used, and never homemade.

Wear latex gloves whenever you might come into contact with someone elses blood or body fluids.

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If I Have Hepatitis B And Feel Healthy Do I Need To Keep Going To My Doctor

Chronic hepatitis B is a silent disease because often no symptoms appear until your liver is severely damaged. Although many people with chronic hepatitis B have an inactive disease and will remain healthy, about one in four will have an active disease that may lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Because hepatitis B has no symptoms until your liver is badly damaged, a blood test is the only way for your doctor to find out if your hepatitis B is active or inactive, and to offer treatment, if needed. To help your doctor monitor how your disease behaves over time, you will need lifelong repeat blood tests every six to 12 months. Some tests, such as HBV DNA may need to be done more frequently . No treatment is required while the virus is inactive, but you should continue to get regular blood tests from your doctor to monitor your liver disease.

Reduce Your Chance Of Infection

The Truth about Hepatitis B

You can reduce your chance of hepatitis B infection by

  • not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
  • wearing gloves if you have to touch another persons blood or open sores
  • making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools
  • not sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
  • using a latex or polyurethane condom during sex

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Complications Of Hepatitis B

A small proportion of people who become infected with the hepatitis B virus develop a long-term hepatitis B infection. They may have the virus in their bloodstream for most of their life without realising they are infected.

People with chronic hepatitis B infection may not notice any health problems until they develop liver problems such as liver disease or liver cancer later in life. Treatment for hepatitis B is essential because it is not possible to be a healthy carrier of the hepatitis B virus. Chronic hepatitis B infection occurs more commonly in some communities, including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • In people from parts of the world where hepatitis B is more common, such as:
  • North-East Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa.

Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis B

Anyone can get hepatitis B, but the risk is higher in:

  • Infants born to mothers who have hepatitis B
  • People who inject drugs or share needles, syringes, and other types of drug equipment
  • Sex partners of people with hepatitis B, especially if they are not using latex or polyurethane condoms during sex
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who live with someone who has hepatitis B, especially if they use the same razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
  • Health care and public-safety workers who are exposed to blood on the job
  • Yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice

If you have chronic hepatitis B, you may not have symptoms until complications develop. This could be decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis B screening is important, even if you have no symptoms. Screening means that you are tested for a disease even though you don’t have symptoms. If you are at high risk, your health care provider may suggest screening.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B

After the virus enters the body, there is an incubation period lasting 1.5 to 6 months until illness begins. During the acute phase most persons have no symptoms or might experience a mild illness. Symptoms of acute HBV infection, when present, may include:

  • Dark-colored urine, light-colored stools

During the chronic phase hepatitis B usually progresses silently, with no symptoms at all during the first 10-20 years. Signs of severe liver scarring may include:

  • Star-shaped vein pattern developing on the swollen belly
  • Easy bruising and bleeding

Chronic HBV infection can lead to serious liver disease, liver scarring , and hepatocellular cancer.

Because symptoms of hepatitis B are usually absent, persons with risk for HBV infection should be tested. If you think you have hepatitis B, or are at risk for hepatitis B, you should contact your doctor.

Hepatitis B Symptoms And Treatment

What Should I Do If I Have Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver. It is spread through blood and bodily fluids. It is most commonly passed on via unprotected sex , from a mother to her child during birth, or through contaminated needles.

In adults, it often causes no obvious symptoms and can pass in a few months without treatment. Children are more likely to develop a long-lasting infection. Without appropriate treatment and care, children and adults with a chronic infection can become seriously ill and be at risk of liver damage or death.

Vaccines for hepatitis B are offered to infants and are available for people at high risk of the condition.

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Should All Patients With Chronic Hepatitis B Be On Treatment

Not all patients with chronic hepatitis B need to be on treatment. The decision to treat HBV is based on several factors including blood tests results, the patient’s age, and the risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer. Sometimes a liver biopsy is needed to see if there is significant liver damage to make a decision.

Hepatitis B medications are recommended for patients with detected HBV virus on a blood test and evidence of liver damage. Liver damage can be detected with a liver enzyme known as ALT. People with cirrhosis should be considered for treatment even if the liver enzymes appear normal.

Chronic hepatitis B may change over time. Patients can go through different phases with low amounts of virus and normal level of ALT followed by high viral loads and ALT levels. These bursts of virus activity usually don’t cause any symptoms but may cause liver damage overtime. It is important that people with chronic hepatitis B have blood tests on a regular basis to see if treatment is needed.

There are some medications which can cause hepatitis B “reactivation” which can lead to life threatening liver failure. These medications are used to treat some cancers, inflammatory conditions and hepatitis C. Reactivation reactions can be prevented and it is important to let your provider know you have HBV before you start any new medications.

How Can I Pay For My Medication

Private health insurance or drug plansIf you have private health insurance or a drug plan at work, you may be able to have the medication paid through your plan. Please consult your private health insurance or drug plan provider to see if your drug is covered.

Publicly funded drug plansEach province and territory has their own rules. Some provincial drug plans provide coverage for individuals 65 and older, or those on social assistance. Some provinces provide special support to low-income individuals. Please call your Provincial Ministry or Department of Health to get more information about the terms of the publicly funded drug plan in your province.

Quebec public drug programIn Quebec, everyone must be covered by prescription drug insurance either through private or publicly funded plans.

Each provincial and territorial government offers a drug benefit plan for eligible groups. Some are income-based universal programs. Most have specific programs for population groups that may require more enhanced coverage for high drug costs. These groups include seniors, recipients of social assistance, and individuals with diseases or conditions that are associated with high drug costs. For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry, or click on the appropriate link below.

Yukon

Available Patient Assistance Program for Hepatitis B treatment VEMLIDY

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Is Hepatitis B Contagious

Hepatitis B is highly contagious. Its transmitted through contact with blood and certain other bodily fluids. Although the virus can be found in saliva, its not transmitted through sharing utensils or kissing. Its also not transmitted through sneezing, coughing, or breastfeeding.

Symptoms of hepatitis B may not appear for 3 months after exposure. Symptoms can last for several weeks.

But even without symptoms, you can still transmit the infection to others. The virus can live outside the body and remains infectious for at least

Hepatitis B is a highly contagious condition. Its associated with many serious complications, some of which can be life threatening.

But there are many treatment options available and multiple ways you can prevent infection, including getting vaccinated.

If you suspect you may have been exposed to hepatitis B, its important to talk with a doctor to prevent infection and determine the best course of treatment for you.

How Much Does A Hepatitis B Titer Test Cost

What is Hepatitis B? Signs, Symptoms, #Hepatitis Transmission and How to get #Tested

The cost of a hepatitis B test varies based on where you get the test. Prices range from roughly $24 to $110.

Your insurance may cover some or all of the cost. Under the Affordable Care Act, all new health plans must cover preventative services including hepatitis B vaccination and testing without a deductible or copay.

Also Check: Hepatitis B Vaccine Schedule For Adults

Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis B

Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis B. Many people who have hepatitis B dont have symptoms and dont know they are infected with hepatitis B. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis B, which can lower your chances of developing serious health problems.

Your doctor may recommend screening for hepatitis B if you9,14

  • were born in an area of the world where 2 percent or more of the population has hepatitis B infection, which includes Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America
  • didnt receive the hepatitis B vaccine as an infant and have parents who were born in an area where 8 percent or more of the population had hepatitis B infection, which includes sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia
  • are HIV-positive
  • are a man who has sex with men
  • have lived with or had sex with a person who has hepatitis B
  • have an increased chance of infection due to other factors

What Problems Can Hepatitis B Cause

Hepatitis B is a serious infection. It can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, or liver cancer, which can cause severe illness and even death.

If a pregnant woman has the hepatitis B virus, her baby has a very high chance of having it unless the baby gets a special immune injection and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth.

Sometimes, HBV doesn’t cause symptoms until a person has had the infection for a while. At that stage, the person already might have more serious problems, such as liver damage.

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Whats The Prognosis For Hepatitis B

Your doctor will know youâve recovered when you no longer have symptoms and blood tests show:

  • Your liver is working normally.
  • You have hepatitis B surface antibody.

But some people don’t get rid of the infection. If you have it for more than 6 months, youâre whatâs called a carrier, even if you donât have symptoms. This means you can give the disease to someone else through:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Contact with your blood or an open sore
  • Sharing needles or syringes

Doctors donât know why, but the disease does go away in a small number of carriers. For others, it becomes whatâs known as chronic. That means you have an ongoing liver infection. It can lead to cirrhosis, or hardening of the organ. It scars over and stops working. Some people also get liver cancer.

If youâre a carrier or are infected with hepatitis B, donât donate blood, plasma, body organs, tissue, or sperm. Tell anyone you could infect — whether itâs a sex partner, your doctor, or your dentist — that you have it.

Show Sources

CDC: âHepatitis B Questions and Answers for Health Professionals,â âHepatitis B Questions and Answers for the Public.â

Mayo Clinic: âHepatitis B.â

UpToDate: âHepatitis B virus: Screening and diagnosis.â

CDC.

HealthyPeople.gov: âHepatitis B in Pregnant Women: Screening.â

Annals of Internal Medicine: âScreening for Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Nonpregnant Adolescents and Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.â

How Do People Get The Hbv Virus

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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.

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