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What Triggers the Hepatitis B Infection in a Person?

There are several forms of infections around us that can trigger certain kinds of illnesses in the body. How much a disease will affect you largely depends upon your immunity levels, how much of prevention you have taken against the virus and of course how powerful the infection is.

Hepatitis B is one such powerful virus that is known to infect the liver of a person. In some cases, hepatitis B could be more temporary phenomena that exist for a short time post which the patient makes a recovery. This is known as acute hepatitis B.

In a few other people the virus may have more severe implications causing a long-term infection known as chronic hepatitis B. When chronic hepatitis B strikes, it can cause severe damages, particularly to the liver. Young kids and infants who are infected by the hepatitis B virus are more likely to experience chronic hepatitis B which can make their recovery from the illness difficult and prolonged.

Hepatitis B disease in some people can be extremely misguiding as one may not know at all that they are suffering from the disease. One may not experience any symptoms yet have the virus in their system. Sometimes the symptoms are very similar to that of the flu. What is more important is it doesn’t matter if your symptoms are healthy or not, but as long as the virus is alive within you, you act as a carrier of the infection and can always infect others.

The prime cause of the hepatitis B infection is the hepatitis B virus. This virus spreads from one person to another through contact with the blood and other body fluids in the infected person’s body.

The hepatitis B infection can be quickly passed on from one person to the other by:

Having unprotected intercourse with the person infected with the virus: It is easy to get infected with hepatitis B virus by having unprotected intercourse with the infected person. When the blood, saliva or semen from the infected person enters the body of the uninfected person, then the hepatitis B infected can be easily contracted.

Sharing needles with the infected person particularly while injecting drugs: The hepatitis B virus is quickly spread by sharing the contaminated syringes that have been contaminated with the infected person’s blood.

Getting a tattoo or piercing done with tools that have been used the infected and not sterilized: Getting a tattoo done with the same needle as used by the infected person or coming in direct contact with a needle that has been contaminated can be a massive risk for acquiring the hepatitis B infection.

Sharing personal care items like razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.

Infected mother to the child: Expecting mothers who are infected with the hepatitis B virus can easily pass the virus to the baby in their womb during childbirth. However, in many cases, the newborn baby is vaccinated immediately after birth, and this can help the baby avoid the infection. Speak to your hepatologist near you about your chances of being infected by the hepatitis B virus if you are pregnant or planning to conceive.

Unlike the hepatitis A virus which spreads through contaminated food, the hepatitis B virus does not spread through food or water. However, there are chances that the infection can spread through food that is tainted by the saliva of the infected person.

Hepatitis B in a Pregnant Woman

Hepatitis B infection in an expecting mother can easily pass to the baby at birth. However, the disease is rarely acquired during the pregnancy. Mostly it would have affected the mother before she even conceived the baby.

An infant who is affected by the hepatitis B virus which is left untreated could suffer from long-term implications on the health of the liver. Infants with mothers who are suffering from the hepatitis B infection should be immunized with the hepatic B immune globulin vaccine at the time of birth or within the first year of life.

Signs to Recognize

Many people suffering from the acute form of the hepatitis B infection do not see any symptoms. However, one does have symptoms it may include one or more of the following:

Unexplained tiredness and extreme fatigue

Mild fever

A severe Headache.

Nausea, Vomiting or sudden loss of appetite

Feeling of discomfort on the right side of the belly under the rib cage.

Dark brown colored stools

Dark yellow urine that could be indicative of jaundice

Jaundice which causes the skin and the eyes to turn yellow

In case of chronic infection, there are very few or no prominent symptoms that one notices. It is effortless to catch the infection and stay infected without really knowing it. You may not know that you have a hepatitis B infection until you get a routine blood test done.

If one of your close family members is suffering from a hepatitis B infection, also you may want to get yourself tested. In some cases, the disease goes undiagnosed until one faces more severe conditions like liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.

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