MTHFR Support

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B

Share This Post

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth.

For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.

Symptoms

Many people with hepatitis B won’t experience any symptoms and may fight off the virus without realising they had it.

If symptoms do develop, they tend to occur two or three months after exposure to the hepatitis B virus.

Symptoms of hepatitis B include:

  • flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, a fever, and general aches and pains
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling and being sick
  • diarrhoea
  • tummy (abdominal) pain
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

These symptoms will usually pass within one to three months (acute hepatitis B), although occasionally the infection can last for six months or more (chronic hepatitis B).

How do you get infected?

Hepatitis B can be spread by:

  • a mother to their newborn baby, particularly in countries where the infection is common
  • injecting drugs and sharing needles and other drug equipment, such as spoons and filters
  • having sex with an infected person without using a condom
  • having a tattoo, body piercing, or medical or dental treatment in an unhygienic environment with unsterilised equipment
  • having a blood transfusion in a country where blood isn’t tested for hepatitis B – all blood donations in the UK are now tested for the infection
  • sharing toothbrushes or razors contaminated with infected blood
  • the skin being accidentally punctured by a used needle (needle stick injury) – this is mainly a risk for healthcare workers
  • the blood of someone with hepatitis B getting into an open wound, cut, or scratch – in rare cases, being bitten by someone with hepatitis B can also spread the infection

Hepatitis B isn’t spread by kissing, holding hands, hugging, coughing, sneezing, or sharing crockery and utensils.

Who are at risk?

People at highest risk of hepatitis B include:

  • people born or brought up in a country where the infection is common
  • babies born to mothers infected with hepatitis B
  • people who have ever injected drugs
  • anyone who has had unprotected sex, including anal or oral sex – particularly people who’ve had multiple sexual partners, people who’ve had sex with someone in or from a high-risk area, men who have sex with men, and commercial sex workers
  • close contacts, such as family members, of someone with long-term (chronic) hepatitis B infection

The risk of getting hepatitis B for travellers going to places where the infection is common is generally considered to be low if the activities mentioned above are avoided.

High Risk Areas

Hepatitis B is found throughout the world, but is particularly common in:

  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • east and southeast Asia
  • the Pacific Islands
  • parts of South America
  • southern parts of eastern and central Europe
  • the Middle East
  • the Indian subcontinent

How do you prevent Hepatitis B infection?

A vaccine that offers protection against hepatitis B is available for people at high risk of the infection.

This includes:

  • babies born to infected mothers
  • close family and sexual partners of someone with hepatitis B
  • people travelling to or from a part of the world where hepatitis B is widespread, such as sub-Saharan Africa, east and southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands
  • people who inject drugs or have a sexual partner who injects drugs
  • people who change their sexual partner frequently
  • men who have sex with men

Related Posts

CDC Talk
MTHFR

CDC Talk

Carolyn recently discussed CDC in our Patient Facebook group live. Join the group here. Link to the research here. Want to learn more about latest research ...
Read More →
Histamine and Mental Health
MTHFR

Histamine and Mental Health

How Histamine Imbalance Could be Ruining Your Mood One of the many functions of histamine in the body is to act  as a neurotransmitter, where ...
Read More →
Turkey Schnitzel with Pear and Hazelnut Salad
MTHFR

Turkey Schnitzel with Pear and Hazelnut Salad

Recipe of the week (Serves 3) Ingredients: 500g turkey breast (Serves 3) ½ cup rice crumbs 1 egg (whisked) 2 tsp olive oil to grease ...
Read More →
Cervical Dysplasia/ Cervical Cancer / HPV
Conditions

Cervical Dysplasia/ Cervical Cancer / HPV

What Is Cervical Dysplasia & Cervical Cancer? Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, the narrow neck at the lower part of a woman’s uterus, ...
Read More →
Roasted Turkey with Thyme Gravy
MTHFR

Roasted Turkey with Thyme Gravy

Ingredients: 1 fresh turkey (12 to 14 lbs.), neck reserved and giblets saved for another use 1/2 bunch fresh thyme 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz/170gms) ...
Read More →
Carolyn’s Personal COVID Experience
MTHFR

Carolyn’s Personal COVID Experience

Well it was inevitable, like thousands of other Australian’s right now I became ill with COVID. On New Year's Day no less.For perspective, I don’t ...
Read More →
Scroll to Top
Carolyn Ledowsky

Stay Connected!

Sign up for our monthly newsletter with current MTHFR research, health tips, recipes, special offers and news about upcoming events including Carolyn’s live Q&A.

Subscribe