Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This infection leads to damage of cells in the liver.
Most babies and very young children, and some older children and adults, who are infected with Hepatitis B do not become ill themselves but they still carry the virus in their body and can infect others. They are known as ‘carriers’.
Hepatitis B is a very infectious virus. It can be pass on through contact with blood or blood products like using a contaminated needle or through sexual contact, especially without using protection like condoms.
The Hep B virus can cause an illness, which can last for several weeks. Some of the symptoms you may experience include:
- Feeling of being tired and losing your appetite. This can last for many weeks.
- Your skin and eyes will look yellow. This is called jaundice
- Your urine will look very dark.
- You may feel nauseous, like you want to throw up. You may vomit often.
In some cases, Hepatitis B leads to permanent damage of the liver, called cirrhosis, or to liver cancer.
- The best way to make sure that you do not get hepatitis B is to be immunized against it. You must need to have Hepatitis B vaccine.
- Be careful about contact with blood.
- Do not share personal things like toothbrushes, nail files or razors with anyone.
- Be very careful if you decide to have a body piercing or a tattoo when you are older, that you choose someone who does these very safely.
- Clean and use disinfectant on any surfaces. Like in a bathroom sink or kitchen bench, where you have been cleaning and dressing wounds.