Hepatitis B
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Facts of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an ailment of the liver named after the highly infectious virus itself. The Hepatitis B virus is a DNA virus, highly infectious, that had even led to epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa and endemics in scattered parts of Asia. In fact in contemporary times it is one of the most dangerous diseases that can affect mankind.

This infection of the liver is a serious one that is caused by the inflammation of the organ by the Hepatitis B virus. The ailment can get checked on time without major damages done to the liver. However, there are chances that the infection becomes chronic and the symptoms prevail beyond six months.

Occasionally the illness could assume a lifetime proportion, with the symptoms showing up and receding again from time to time, exposing the victim to cirrhosis and liver cancer. In that case it may even require the patient to undergo a life-saving liver transplant. Rarely, a patient may also die from liver cancer, which is a fatal disease that has not so far responded positively to the much-prevalent chemotherapy.

Causes Hepatitis B

There are more than one ways of transmitting Hepatitis B if one is not careful. For instance, the virus spreads through sex without proper precautions, razors, infected needles during drug use and abuse, acupuncture, tattooing etc., and blood transfusion with unsterilized medical apparatuses. Because of its highly infectious nature, the Hepatitis B virus may be present in the saliva, vaginal secretions and other body fluids of the person suffering from this disease, putting at risk many more people who are in contact.

Hepatitis B Symptoms

Normally, infections due to the Hepatitis B virus do not show any noticeable symptoms in the initial stages. However, if one is a careful, symptom like weakness, aches, headache, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pains, diarrhea, jaundice and vomiting may get noted. Persons affected by the Hepatitis B virus usually contract jaundice as the liver malfunctions and is unable to remove a substance called bilirubin from the blood. As a result, the skin of the ailing person turns pale and his/her eyes become yellow.

It may be noted here that the incubation period of the hepatitis B virus before the symptoms actually develop is between six weeks and six months.

Hepatitis B Prevention and Treatment

Truly speaking, most people with Hepatitis B do not need any well-defined treatment. Usually the attending doctor recommends a full rest for a complete recuperation. However, if the ailment lasts longer than six months, the specialist doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug treatment called alpha interferon, which actually cuts down the risk of any permanent damage to the liver or even cancerous liver.

Because of its highly infectious nature, it is highly recommended that persons who stand the risk of coming in contact with the virus get themselves vaccinated as there is an effective vaccination to protect people from Hepatitis B infection.

Hence, all the family members living with an infected person, the people who use drugs through needles or enjoy unprotected sex, or are exposed to infected blood in their professions, like healthcare workers, police etc., should get themselves vaccinated. Babies who are born to mothers who were exposed to this infection must also be vaccinated. Also, people traveling to those high-risk countries where a Hepatitis B infection prevails should be careful to get themselves vaccinated.

Advices:

Avoid any direct intimate physical contact with a person affected with the virus. Practise safe sex by using condoms.

Do not share needles when using drugs.

Ensure that the needles used on you are properly sterilized.

When having any body piercing, tattoo or acupuncture, make sure that the kit that is used is sterilized.

Get yourself vaccinated against Hepatitis B.

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