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.

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