Are You at Risk of Hepatitis B?   



Are You at Risk of Hepatitis B?

 

Then here's some things you should know.

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which is spread-often unknowingly- through having sex with an infected person without using a condom, by sharing needles, through needle sticks or sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth. There are many ways to catch the virus, and you must keep all fronts covered.

WHAT IS HEPATITIS B?

Hepatitis B results when HBV attacks the liver. This can possibly cause lifelong liver infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer and death. In the United States, HBV is responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths each year.
People at any age can become infected with HBV, and it is highly contagious. A person who is not immune to HBV can become infected by coming in contact with a small amount of blood or body fluids from an infected person.

Individuals are at high risk for getting HBV if they:
• Have unprotected sex.
• Have sex with more than one partner.
• Inject drugs.
• Use unsterilized needles when tattooing, ear-piercing or body-piercing.
• Share items such as razors or toothbrushes.
• Share chewing gum.
• Come in contact with fresh skin breaks, cuts, burns or blood of an infected person.
• Living in the same house as a chronically infected person.
• Work in a hospital or other health care facility.

Pregnant women with hepatitis B can also infect their children while giving birth.

SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS B
Adolescent and many adults who get hepatitis B usually have no symptoms in some cases, infection with HBV may cause some of the following symptoms:

• Fever
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea or vomiting
Weakness or tiredness
• Abdominal pain
• Light-colored bowel movements
• Dark urine
• Yellow coloring to the skin and eyes (Jaundice)

About 1 million people in the United States carry the virus and can infect others. One out of 20 people will contract this disease, but the good news is that hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination.

In the United States, infants have been vaccinated against HBV since 1991. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend vaccinations for all babies and unvaccinated children as part of routine childhood Immunizations, and for adults who are at high risk. The CDC recommends a three-dose schedule of the hepatitis B vaccine for adequate protection.Are You at Risk of Hepatitis B?