Hepatitis B: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention
Hepatitis B is a type of virus which infects your liver. Most people who suffer from this disease experience it for a brief period of time before it starts getting better and better. This is also mentioned as acute hepatitis B.
At times, the virus may result in an infection for an extended period of time. This state is known as chronic hepatitis B. As time passes, it tends to damage the patient’s liver. Young children, as well as babies infected with such a virus face, increased risk of suffering from chronic hepatitis B virus.
People may suffer from hepatitis B without even realizing it. You might not even experience any type of symptoms associated with this disease. In case you do, they are likely to make you feel as if you’re suffering from flu. However, as long as the virus resides in your body, there is a possibility that you may spread it to other people.
Causes of hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B results from hepatitis B virus which is likely to spread via contact with the body fluids & blood of an infected individual.
A person may suffer from hepatitis B if he/she:
- Has sex with a person who’s infected and does not use a condom.
- Gets a piercing or tattoo with unsterilized tools.
- Shares personal stuff such as toothbrush or razor with an infected individual.
- Shares needles (utilized for injecting medications) with an infected individual.
Also, a mother who is already infected with the virus may pass the disease to her newborn during delivery. Doctors suggest that all pregnant ladies undergo the examinations for the hepatitis B virus. In case they have the infection, their newborn can get shots in order to avoid the infection.
Please understand that you are unlikely to suffer the infection from casual contact for instance kissing, sneezing, hugging, coughing, or even sharing drinks or food items.
Acute Hepatitis B:
The infected person may suffer from jaundice which occurs around 3 months after the initial outbreak.
vomiting and nausea
pain in the abdominal area
joint and muscle pain
jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes, pale-colored poo and dark urine).
As stated earlier, most people who are suffering from acute hepatitis B hardly realize their infection. In very rare cases, a person may become very ill at a rapid pace. This occurs only if the liver is damaged to an extent where it stops functioning. This is known as ‘fulminant hepatitis’.
Chronic Hepatitis B:
A number of people who experience chronic hepatitis B hardly have any signs of infection meaning they might still feel healthy without being aware of the infection. Nonetheless, other folks might encounter symptoms that can be identical to other types of viral hepatitis.
Some of these include:
depression, irritability, and tiredness
liver pain (especially at the right and upper side of your abdomen)
vomiting and nausea
Infected individuals might also face a greater risk of liver cancer.
Acute Hepatitis B
The infection associated with the Hepatitis B virus can typically go away naturally, without requiring any medical procedure. This happens within the acute phase. At times, the virus can stay in the body, nevertheless. In this case, the person may act as a “carrier” of this virus for the remainder of their life. It’s what we mention as chronic Hepatitis B., To sum up, the infection related to acute Hepatitis B may not require treatment whereas the one with a chronic Hepatitis B may need a person to undergo certain medical procedures.
Some easy steps you can take is to get plenty of rest, and follow a diet free from any harmful fats, in addition to avoiding alcoholic beverages that may worsen the condition even further.
Chronic Hepatitis B
In a few cases, as stated earlier, the infection may remain inside your system after an acute infection. In this scenario, your body may not be able to treat the condition on its own without taking any medicines.
There are 2 primary types of medicines that a doctor can suggest in relation to this virus.
This medicines can be given through injections & might cause unpleasant ill-effects. Peginterferon may possibly help offer relief from Hepatitis B, even though that can only work for a few of the people who’re treated with it. This is a 48-week course which can have plenty of negative effects and not everyone may be eligible for taking this treatment to get rid of the virus.
Antiviral medicines prevent the reproduction of the virus, and simultaneously, they’re able to minimize the inflammation of the liver. Most times, you’ll be required to take these medications for the rest of the lifetime. In a few cases, treatment consisting of antiviral medicines will finally be successful in getting rid of the virus from the patient’s body. A side effect of a few of such medicines (adefovir/lamivudine) is they can eventually stop working for some folks. If this case, it may indicate that the virus has become resistant (insensitive) to the medicines. With the present generation of such medicines (entecavir/tenofovir), there’s a minimal risk of that happening, nevertheless.
Hepatitis B Prevention:
Make sure to use condoms before engaging in any sexual activity. Whilst they may not offer complete protection, when used correctly and on a consistent basis, condoms can become one of your best ways for minimizing the odds of hepatitis B. People who share households with others diagnosed with the infection must avoid coming in direct contact with body fluids or infected blood or objects like razors, toothbrushes, etc. Also, you want to clean the surfaces that are contaminated with body fluids or blood using a solution containing ten parts of water and one part of household bleach.
Also, you can find vaccine which can prevent the infection. Experts suggest such vaccination for companions of anyone with hepatitis B; anybody involved in a sexual activity that is not monogamous or long term; those who’re diagnosed with STI/STDs; and men who engage in sexual activity with other men. Others might also benefit from such vaccination. Hence, it is best to ask your doctor to get proper advice for yourself.