Hepatitis means ‘inflammation of the liver’. Hepatitis B (also referred to as hep B) is caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). This is is an infection that can lead to serious liver problems. The virus is found in blood and to a lesser degree, it can also be found in body fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions.
SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS B
Some people who are infected with the hepatitis B virus have mild, flu-like symptoms while some do not become sick at all. Children who are infected are less likely to have an illness or get sick after getting hepatitis B than adults. (However, the health consequences for people who were infected with hepatitis B in childhood can be more serious in the long term.)
Symptoms of acute hepatitis B may not be visible or noticed for months, but common symptoms includes:
Loss of appetite.
Nausea and vomiting.
Pain in the liver (under the right ribcage).
Dark coloured urine.
General body weakness.
Pain in the joints and muscles.
Jaundice (the eyes and skin become yellow).
Any symptoms of hepatitis B need urgent evaluation. Symptoms of acute hepatitis B are worse in people over the age of 60.
Normally, these health problems disappear in a few weeks, but even when the person feels much better, they may still be infectious. Most adults who become infected with the hepatitis B virus recover completely and do not become infected again. A few people become very ill in the time just after infection and need to go to hospital; some may even die.
Alert your doctor immediately if you’ve been exposed to Hepatitis B, you just may be able to prevent infection.