Hepatitis B is an infection of your liver. It can cause scarring of the organ, liver failure, and cancer. It can be fatal if it isn’t treated. It’s spread when people come in contact with the blood, open sores, or body fluids of someone who has the HEP B virus. The good news is that most cases of the disease don’t last a long time. Your body fights it off within a few months, and you’re immune for the rest of your life. That means you can’t get it again. How Can It Be Detected?
Hepatitis B is not spread through sneezing, coughing, hugging, or breastfeeding. Although the virus can be found in saliva, it is not believed to be spread through kissing or sharing utensils. Yes. In addition, the vaccine is recommended for anyone who has never been infected and is at risk for getting Hepatitis B.
When you’re first infected, the warning signs include:
- Jaundice. (Your skin or the whites of the eyes turn yellow, and your pee turns brown or orange.)
- Dark Urine
- Joint Pain
- Light-colored poop
- Fatigue that persists for weeks or months
- Stomach trouble like loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
- Belly pain
Symptoms may not show up until 1 to 6 months after you catch the virus. You may not feel anything, and about a third of the people with this disease don’t. They only find out through a blood test.
A) How Can It Be Transmitted?
- Unprotected sex
- Contact with your blood or an open sore
- Sharing needles or syringes
If you’ve had it for more than 6 months, you become what’s called a carrier, even if you don’t have the symptoms. This means you can give the disease to someone else through the points mentioned earlier. Doctors don’t know why, but the disease does go away in a small number of carriers. For others, it becomes what’s known as chronic. That means you have an ongoing liver infection. It can lead to cirrhosis or hardening of the organ. It scars over and stops working. Some people also get liver cancer.
If you’re a carrier or are currently infected with hepatitis B, don’t donate blood, plasma, body organs, tissue, or sperm. Tell anyone you could infect, whether it’s a sex partner, or your doctor or dentist, that you have it.
Incubation Period: Incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic organism, a chemical, or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent. In a typical infectious disease, incubation period signifies the period taken by the multiplying organism to reach a threshold necessary to produce symptoms in the host. The incubation period varies depending on the specific hepatitis virus. If you’ve come in contact with anybody who has the Hepatitis B virus, anytime from 45 to 160 days is a good time to get tested , and for Hepatitis C virus from about 2 weeks to 6 months.
B) How Can Hepatitis B Be Diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks you have it, he’ll give you a complete physical exam. He’ll also check to see if your liver is healthy. The diagnosis is made with blood tests that look for the hepatitis virus and cells that fight infection, called antibodies. If your disease becomes chronic, your doctor might take a tissue sample from your liver, called a biopsy. This will tell him how severe your case is.
C) How Is It Treated?
If you think you’ve been exposed to the virus, get to a doctor within 2 weeks. He’ll give you a vaccine and a shot of hepatitis B immune globulin. This protein boosts your immune system and helps it fight off the infection. If you do get sick, your doctor may put you on bed rest to help you get better faster.
D) How Common Is Hepatitis B?
The number of people who get this disease is down, the CDC says. Rates have dropped from an average of 200,000 per year in the 1980s to around 18,000 in 2012. People between the ages of 20 and 49 are most likely to get it.
Only 5% to 10% of adults and children older than 5 who have hepatitis B end up with a chronic infection. The numbers aren’t so good for those younger than 5 (25% to 50%) and even higher for infants infected at birth (90%). However, according to the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice, over 21 million people are living with Hypertitis B in Nigeria. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that only 41% of Nigerians were vaccinated against HBV in 2013. So we advise you get tested and vaccinated in order to prevent contacting the virus. Please spread the word, Hepatitis B is a deadly killer. Thanks for listening and we get back to the show after this break.