What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B, also known as Hep B, is a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. Most healthy adults who are infected can clear the virus during the acute stage without any problems. When a Hepatitis B infection lasts longer than six months, it is considered chronic Hepatitis B.
What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is known as a “silent infection.” Most people are asymptomatic, with only one third of patients experiencing symptoms. Those who do exhibit symptoms may experience:
- Light-Colored stools
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal Pain
What causes Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). The virus is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as blood and saliva. This happens when people have unprotected sex, share needles, are accidental needlesticked or through childbirth if the mother is infected. There are vaccinations that can be given to a newborn to avoid infection.
Each year, 25,000 babies are born to mothers diagnosed with Hepatitis B.
New Hepatitis B infections are most common in adults in their 30s.
HBV infections have declined by about 82% since a national strategy was implemented in 1991.
How is Hepatitis B Prevented?
Hepatitis B is a preventable condition. The Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for many people, including newborns, children not vaccinated at birth, health care professionals, injection drug users and other people who often encounter Hepatitis B patients.
Aside from being vaccinated, there are activities that should be avoided to reduce the risk of contracting the Hepatitis B Virus. These activities include:
- Engaging in unprotected sex
- Using illegal drugs and sharing needles
- Patroning body piercing or tattoo shops where sterility is questionable
How is Hepatitis B Treated?
Hepatitis B treatment is dependant on the infection, or potential infection.
- Preventative treatments are for people who are unsure of their vaccination status and within 12 hours of exposure to the Hepatis B virus. If a patient qualifies for preventative treatment, they are given an immunoglobin, or antibody, injection designed to protect them from contracting the virus.
- Acute Treatments are not needed. Acute infections are short lived and are generally resolved without treatment. If you have an acute Hepatitis B infection, your physcician is likely to recommend rest, fluids and proper nutrition. In severe cases, antiviral drugs may be necessary to prevent complications from arising.
- Chronic Hepatitis B Treatments last for the remainder of the patient's life. Undergoing treatment for chronic Hepatitis B reduces the risk of developing liver disease later in life and prevents the infection from passing to others. Available treatments for chronic Hepatitis B infections include:
- Antiviral medications
- Interferon injections
- Liver transplant
How does Noble help me manage my Hepatitis B?
At Noble Health Services, we offer a variety of medications to help you treat your symptoms. We help you manage your condition through our Signature Care Program, which includes medication delivery, 24/7/365 on-call support, benefits and co-pay assistance and more. For more information on what Hepatitis B medications we offer, please view the Hepatitis enrollment form.