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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that is caused by the Hepatitis B virus. The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is to get vaccinated. The virus is transmitted through blood, semen, and other body fluids from an infected person. People get Hepatitis B through unprotected sex or by using needles or syringes used by someone with Hepatitis B. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth. When first infected, a person can develop an acute infection, which can range in severity from very mild with no or few symptoms to a serious condition requiring hospitalization. Acute Hepatitis B refers to the first six months after someone is exposed to the virus. Some people are able to fight the infection and for others, the infection remains, leading to a chronic or lifelong illness. Most adults have symptoms that appear within three months of exposure. Symptoms can last from weeks to several months and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, grey-colored stools, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin). Hepatitis B can be diagnosed with a blood test. Acute Hepatitis B is treated with rest, adequate nutrition, fluids, and medical monitoring. Those living with chronic Hepatitis B should be evaluated for liver damaged and monitored on a regular basis.


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