Hepatitis B Treatment
Hepatitis B is a severe infection of the liver that is transmitted via bodily fluids. While some people who contract Hepatitis B experience symptoms briefly, others require ongoing treatment throughout their lives. As the East Coast’s top infectious disease clinic, ID Care helps diagnose and treat Hepatitis B to restore the quality of life and promote better outcomes for all who have been infected.
Common Causes Of Hepatitis B
The Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), commonly caused by exposure to an infected individual’s semen, blood, or other bodily fluids, is highly contagious. Exposure occurs in many ways, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex with a person who has HBV. Additionally, Hepatitis B is commonly transmitted during shared needle use by intravenous drug users and accidental needle sticks. Children may also contract the disease from their mothers during childbirth.
Hepatitis B Risk Factors
People who have unprotected sex are at the greatest risk of contracting this virus, but other individuals also carry an elevated risk of infection. These groups include:
- Healthcare workers and first responders
- Men who have sex with other men
- IV drug users
- Individuals with other sexually transmitted diseases
- Correctional facility inmates
- Staff and clients of institutions and senior living facilities
- Individuals who get piercings or tattoos
Hepatitis B Symptoms
When someone is infected with Hepatitis B, the virus travels the bloodstream to the liver. Some individuals experience mild symptoms, while others might feel more severe effects. Signs and symptoms of HBV typically appear one to four months after infection, although some experience the virus’ effects within two weeks after infection. Flu-like symptoms are among the most common, although they may be accompanied by:
- Sudden nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
A majority of HBV infections result in acute illness followed by full recovery. In other cases, the virus may progress to chronic HBV, leading to cirrhosis of the liver (scarring), liver cancer, liver failure, and kidney problems.
Hepatitis B Diagnosis And Treatment
Because Hepatitis B targets the liver, ID Care specialists will check for signs of liver damage, including jaundice and belly pain. Blood work can determine the presence of acute or chronic HBV, while ultrasounds and liver biopsies reveal any liver damage.
If you’ve been diagnosed with acute HBV, you may not require treatment beyond fluids, rest, and small meals that reduce feelings of nausea. Individuals with chronic Hepatitis B, however, require treatment for life. Your ID Care physician may recommend antiviral medications that slow liver damage or, in the most severe cases, a liver transplant at one of our affiliated hospitals. No matter your condition, we’ll offer the resources and expertise needed to help you stay comfortable during treatment and minimize the effects of the virus.
Hepatitis B Prevention
Hepatitis B is a preventable disease, and all infants should receive the HBV vaccine in a series of three shots as part of their standard vaccination schedule. Adults and older children may also receive the vaccine, and it should be administered before traveling internationally.
Latex condoms also reduce your risk of Hepatitis B infection, although they must be used correctly every time and cannot fully eliminate risk. Finally, never undergo a tattoo or piercing without first verifying the shop’s safety procedures. Remember to ask how piercing or tattoo equipment is cleaned, and make sure the needles that are used are always sterile.
Learn More About Hepatitis B
While some individuals affected by Hepatitis B experience only mild symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your nearest ID Care location if you suspect you’ve been infected. To learn more about Hepatitis B and other infectious diseases, contact us online today. Our highly trained specialists offer the diagnostic tools and advanced treatments needed to restore good health and eliminate symptoms to get you back on your feet in no time.