Hepatitis B Virus

Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.

Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. The type of hepatitis is named for the virus that causes it; for example, hepatitis Ahepatitis B or hepatitis C. Drug or alcohol use can also cause hepatitis. In other cases, your body mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the liver.

Some people who have hepatitis have no symptoms. Others may have

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements
  • Stomach pain
  • Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes

Some forms of hepatitis are mild, and others can be serious. Some can lead to scarring, called cirrhosis, or to liver cancer.

Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause acute and chronic liver infections. It is transmitted through infected blood products, sexual intercourse, infected items such as needles, razor blades, dental or medical equipment, unscreened blood transfusions, or from mother to child at birth.


The virus is present worldwide, but some populations in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, as well as in indigenous communities are Hepatitis B carriers. Travellers getting tattoos or piercings , using drugs intravenously, sharing needles and razor blades, undergoing dental or medical procedures, or having unprotected sex are at risk.


In many cases, the infection is asymptomatic – persons do not exhibit symptoms. Those with symptoms usually get ill 30 days to 6 months after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fatigue, malaise, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice. The illness can last several weeks and some adults can become chronic carriers after being infected. Hepatitis B can cause chronic liver infections, cirrhosis of the liver, or liver cancer. Most infections are asymptomatic in children under five years of age but they can become chronic carriers. Many countries are now including vaccination against Hepatitis B in their childhood vaccination schedules. Treatment includes supportive care of symptoms. Some cases of chronic Hepatitis B can be treated with antiviral drugs.

  • Know the risks of the activities you will be engaged in during your trip to prevent any injuries.
  • Avoid getting new piercings or tattoos on your trip.
  • Do not share needles or razor blades.
  • If you need medical or dental career p, ensure that it is done by a reputable facility.
  • Always practice safe sex – use a condom correctly and consistently or abstain from intercourse.

Hepatitis B vaccination is a routine immunization. If you have not been vaccinated, it is recommended for travellers on work assignments in the healthcare field such as physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, dentists, or for those working in close contact with the local population such as teachers, aid workers, and missionaries.

Sometimes hepatitis goes away by itself. If it does not, it can be treated with drugs. Sometimes hepatitis lasts a lifetime. Vaccines can help prevent some viral forms.


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