Hepatitis B is a liver infection brought about by the hepatitis B virus. An infection can be categorized as acute or chronic. An acute case of hepatitis B can trigger symptoms that rapidly develop in adults. Infants who are sick at birth infrequently develop the acute type since almost all infections become chronic.
When it comes to a chronic case, it develops in a slow manner. The symptoms might not be evident unless complications arise.
Is it contagious?
Hepatitis B is highly transmissible and spreads via exposure to infected blood and other body fluids. Even though the virus is present in the saliva, it does not spread via sharing of utensils or kissing. It does not spread via coughing, sneezing or breastfeeding.
The symptoms might not arise for 3 months after exposure and can last for 2-12 weeks. Nevertheless, the individual is still contagious even without any symptoms. The virus can thrive outside the body for up to 7 days.
The usual modes in which the condition spreads include:
- Direct exposure to infected blood
- Transfer from mother to baby during birth
- Being punctured or pricked by a tainted needle
- Sexual activity or intimate contact with an individual infected by HBV
- Using a razor or other personal items of an infected individual
Indications of hepatitis B
The indications of hepatitis B are not usually evident for months. Nevertheless, the usual symptoms that might arise include:
- Dark urine
- Muscle and joint pain
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal discomfort
If any of these symptoms are present, it requires immediate assessment by a doctor. The indications of an acute case are worse among those over 60 years of age.
A doctor must be consulted right away if there is possibility of exposure within the last 24 hours. If not vaccinated, infection can be prevented by getting the hepatitis B vaccine as well as an injection of HBV immune globulin.
Other treatment options include:
- Getting enough rest and maintaining proper hydration of the body
- Antiviral medications for chronic cases of hepatitis B
- Liver transplant is required if the liver is severely damaged