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Hepatitis B: What is it and how does one get it?

Hepatitis B: What is it and how does one get it?

Hepatits B

Hepatitis B is the infection of the liver caused by HBV. This disease can cause damage to your organ, cancer, and liver failure. Also, if not treated, it can prove to be fatal. Wondering how do you get hepatitis B? Well, it is spread while individuals come into contact with open sores, blood, or body fluids of somebody infected from the HBV (Hepatitis B Virus). It is critical, however, in case you get it as an adult, this disease must not last for a long time. Your body fights it off under a few months, and then you are immune to the rest of your life. It means that you can’t get infected from this disease again. 

Also, it can be spread by sex. Moreover, you can secure yourself through getting its vaccine along with using condoms. HBV can be acute as well as get resolved without any treatment. However, a few of its forms may be chronic, as well as these could result in liver cancer and cirrhosis. The acute form of this disease causes the symptoms to take place instantly in adults and that is why it is important to get the vaccine as per the hep b series schedule for adults. 

Infants who are infected at the birth-time seldom develop acute Hep B. Almost every HBV infection in the infants go on and become chronic. On the other hand, Chronic HBV slowly develops. Its symptoms might not be noticeable until complications develop. 

Causes

Hep B infection is caused by the HBV (Hepatitis B Virus). This virus gets passed from one person to another via semen, blood, or any other body fluid. It doesn’t spread by coughing or sneezing. 

Read Also: Hepatitis B: What are the symptoms and signs?

Normal ways through which HBV can spread are – 

  • Sharing of the needles – Hepatitis B spreads easily by syringes and needles that are contaminated with the infected blood. Sharing the IV drug paraphernalia puts one at a high risk of HBV. 
  • Sexual Contact – You might get HBV in case you undergo unprotected sex with somebody who gets infected. The virus can pass on to you in case the saliva, blood, vaginal secretions, and semen of a person enters the body. 

To avoid getting infected from Hepatitis B Virus, make it a point that you get vaccinated as per the hep b series timing. 

  • Mother-to-Child – Pregnant ladies who have HBV can pass this virus to their kids during childbirth. However, a newborn can get vaccinated to steer clear of getting infected in nearly all cases. Interact with the doctor regarding being tested for Hep B in case you wish to get pregnant or are pregnant. 
  • Accidental needle sticks – Hep B is an issue for the health care workers as well as anybody else who comes in contact with human blood. 

The healthcare workers might be at risk by unsafe medical applications, like not using personal protection, incorrect disposing of the sharps, and reusing the medical equipment. This virus can live outside your body for a minimum of 7 days. During this period, it can still cause infection if it enters the body of an individual who hasn’t received vaccination against this disease. 

3-Dose Hepatitis vaccination series

The vaccine for Hepatitis B is available at the office of your doctor along with a local clinic or health department. 3 doses are often needed for completing the Hep B vaccine series, though there is an enhanced 2-dose series for adolescents who come into the age group of 11-15 years. It is significant to keep in mind that kids born to the infected mothers should get their first Hep B vaccine dose in their delivery room or within the first 12 hours of life. 

  • 1st shot – At any time, however, newborns must receive the dose in their delivery room
  • 2nd shot – At least 28 days (1 month) after your first shot
  • 3rd shot – At least 16 weeks (4 months) after your first shot (as well as a minimum of 2 months after your 2nd shot). Infants must be at least 24 weeks old at the time of their 3rd shot. 

Ensure the fact that you follow the above-mentioned hepatitis b vaccine time period because in case you miss any of your shots, you have to restart your Hep B vaccine series. For instance, in case you begin your vaccine series and stop, then get your 2nd shot whenever you can as well as make sure to get your 3rd one at least 2 months later. Or, in case a person gets his 1st 2 vaccine doses as well as missing his 3rd dose, then he should only schedule his last shot when he can. For being sure that you are secured against Hep B, ask for the simple blood test for checking the “antibody titers” which will confirm whether or not the vaccination was successful. 

2-Dose Hep B vaccine schedule for the adults

In November 2017, the vaccine got approved through the FDA for its use in the United States. Dynavax (Heplisav-B) is the 2-dose vaccine that is approved for utilization in adults who are 18 years or older than that. Its vaccine gets administered in the form of 2 doses given 1-month apart. Over 1 billion Hep B vaccine doses have been offered worldwide as well as it is regarded as among the most effective and safest vaccines ever made. 

Always remember to follow the proper hep b vax schedule for getting protected in the shortest time, with a small number of doses. In case you don’t finish the series, you won’t have long-term, adequate protection from Hep B. 

Those who must get this vaccine are – 

  • Every healthcare worker
  • Every child, adolescent, and infant without any previous vaccination
  • People who undergo dialysis as well as recipients of the solid organ transplants
  • Those individuals who might have been exposed to blood products or blood through treatment or work
  • People who inject drugs
  • Staff and residents of halfway houses, community residences, and correctional facilities
  • People with many sexual partners
  • Individuals sharing the household or engaging in sexual intercourse along with somebody who has chronic Hepatitis B infection
  • Someone who travels to countries where Hepatitis B Virus is common

Now that you know how do you get hepatitis B and its vaccine treatment schedules and series, don’t forget that this disease can be critical as well as there is no cure, however, the good news is that it is simple to prevent. You can safeguard yourself through getting vaccinated besides having protected sex. In case you have anal, vaginal, and oral sex, utilize dental dams and condoms to assist stop the spread of HBV as well as other STDs. 

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