What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is the name of a virus that causes infection in the liver. It is a communicable disease which is divided into two types. One is called acute hepatitis B which stays for a short period of time. On the other hand, there is chronic hepatitis B which leads to long-term infection. In most of the cases, chronic hepatitis B affects babies and young children whereas adults usually have the possibility of suffering from acute hepatitis B. In both the cases, it can lead to liver failure with the course of time.
What Are the Causes of Hepatitis B?
Various factors cause hepatitis B. This virus is usually spread when a person comes in contact with the blood, vaginal fluid or semen of an infected person. This may happen through the following ways:
There are a number of openings in the body through which hepatitis B virus can when there is a break in the lining of the urethra, rectum, vagina and even mouth.
While being treated for any disease, one should always make sure that the syringe used to administer drugs or medication is sterilised. Experts have observed many cases of hepatitis B wherein the use of infected syringe causes the transfer of the virus to a healthy body.
It is a harsh reality, but it is true that a child at the time of birth can get hepatitis from infected mother’s body fluids.
Tattoos and Body Piercings
This is related to the previously mentioned point regarding reusing the syringes. There are a lot of chances of hepatitis B getting spread if the tattoo artist reuses (unknowingly) the needle which was earlier used on an infected person.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of hepatitis B – acute and chronic. If a person is suffering from acute hepatitis B, they may not even have any symptom of the same. But, in some cases, an infected person may observe the following changes in the body and health:
- Constant temperature, usually mild fever
- Loss of appetite, leading to weight loss, nausea and vomiting
- Constant discomfort near the area where liver is located, i.e. the right side of the abdomen
- Tan-colored stool and unusually dark coloured urine
What Is the Treatment for Hepatitis B?
Treatment of hepatitis B is done on the basis of its type. In cases where acute hepatitis B needs to be treated, following measures should be taken to cure it:
When a person thinks they might have got the infection through a needle stick, they should take a hepatitis B vaccine within 7 days. But if they have got it through sexual contact, they need to get vaccinated against hepatitis B within 2 weeks after intercourse. It is important to get treated as soon as possible so that it can be cured on time.
Also, if they get to know that they are infected with acute hepatitis B; antiviral medicines are not usually taken into consideration until a person is very sick. But, one has the option to cure the same by eating healthy, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day while avoiding alcohol and drugs.
While treating chronic hepatitis B, the treatment depends on the extent to which the liver is damaged and how active the virus is in the person’s body. Antivirus medicines are taken into consideration as their main purpose is to stop the virus from damaging the liver. These medicines slow down the process of the virus from getting multiplied further.
Once the treatment is completed, a person may feel relaxed, but it is very important to be regular with the follow-up visits. The doctor would advise blood tests and other check-ups to keep track of the health and to make sure there is no activity of hepatitis B virus in the body.