Symptoms and treatment of hepatitis B
What is hepatitis B?It is an infection caused by a virus attacking the liver and causing a very serious disease. From infection to onset of symptoms, the patient may take from 6 weeks to 6 months.
This stage of the disease is called acute hepatitis B.
Some people who have been infected with the virus do not have any symptoms. If the symptoms are already present, they can be:
- fever, nausea, fatigue, longitudinal abdomen, pain, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), dark colour of urine and rash.
Caution! Most patients with hepatitis B recover, but this can only happen after 6 months or even later. People who recover from the disease do not spread infection.
Some people do not feel bad, but their blood is still infected with the virus.
Caution! In some people, hepatitis B develops to a very serious condition and this can lead to liver failure or prolonged liver problems.
What is chronic hepatitis B?
Some patients never get rid of the hepatitis B virus and may remain infected throughout their lives and, what is worse, infect others.
Caution! It is chronic hepatitis B, and people suffering from this condition are so-called' hepatitis B'. vectors.
You can feel good all your life and do not have symptoms of liver damage. Some people may develop a more serious illness, e. g., if they are ill. cirrhosis of the liver, its insufficiency or cancer.
Caution! Hepatitis B viral hepatitis may also suffer from hepatitis A or C.
Can hepatitis B be treated?
As far as acute hepatitis B is concerned, there is no specific treatment.
Medicines are available to reduce the risk of developing a more serious liver disease.
Caution! The family doctor should refer the patient to a specialist who will perform liver tests and assess whether the medicines can help you here.
How can I take care of my liver?
First of all, care should be taken for the liver:
Do not drink alcohol, as it may damage the liver;
If you are a hepatitis B virus carrier, your GP should refer you to a specialist for liver tests to determine if medication can help;
You should visit your doctor on a regular basis;
Before taking any new medication, check with your doctor for over-the-counter medicines and herbal preparations;
A hepatitis C virus test must be carried out to check whether the hepatitis C virus should not be vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus;
You need to vaccinate yourself against influenza every year.
How can hepatitis B infection be transmitted?
The virus that causes the disease is spread by contact with the infected person's blood or body fluids.
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through a hepatitis B infection:
sexual relations with a person carrying hepatitis B;
the use of common needles or syringes;
use of non-sterilised needles for piercing the body, tattoos;
acupuncture, electrolysis, shaving or the use of needles;
use shared shavers, toothbrushes, washing machines, towels or nail scissors that may contain blood or body fluids;
contact with bleeding wounds or injuries on the body of an infected person;
work in the health care sector requiring contact with infected blood or body fluids;
residence with a carrier of hepatitis B;
having parent carriers of hepatitis B.
Can I infect other people with hepatitis B?
Other people can get infected from patients with hepatitis B through contact with their blood, sperm or vaginal fluid. The virus is also transmitted by bite.
Caution! Outside the body, the virus maintains its vitality for a maximum of 1 week.
People who are in close contact with the patient (partner, family or any other person living under the same roof) should carry out a blood test to check whether they are infected with hepatitis B.
Is hepatitis B vaccine safe?
Yes. It is effective and safe. Therefore, anyone who has contact with a patient can protect themselves by taking a vaccine.
It is usually administered in three doses by the family doctor at the first visit, one month later and six months after the first dose.
Sometimes they are given at shorter intervals. Additional vaccine doses may be necessary for some people to ensure adequate protection. Very few people do not react to the vaccine and do not get protection.
How can other people be protected from infection with hepatitis B?
Please observe the instructions to protect other people:
Cover all cuts and open wounds with plaster with bandage or dressing.
Wash hands thoroughly after each contact with blood or body fluids.
Place fabrics or other products contaminated with blood or body fluids in the bag before throwing them into the bin.
Remove blood stains. Clean the area again with bleach (in proportion: one dose of domestic bleach for 10 doses of water).
Common toothbrushes, shavers, needles for piercing the body, files, sticks, nail scissors, washing machines or towels may not be used.
If you are taking drugs, stop injecting them or take advantage of a drug treatment programme. Never use drugs, needles, syringes, syringes, wadding or rinsing dishes with other people.
Do not donate blood, plasma, organs, tissues or sperm.
Sexual partner of the patient is at risk of infection with hepatitis B. Inform your sexual partner (s) that you are infected with hepatitis B. You must go to your doctor for a blood test and check if you are infected. If there is no infection, they should be vaccinated. After the vaccination cycle, a blood test shall verify that adequate protection is provided. Use condoms until your partner is protected.
Other people living with the sick person are at risk. The patient must inform all those who live with him that they should go to the doctor for blood tests and vaccinations.
In the future, all new sexual partners and any newcomers living with the patient should be informed about the need for blood testing and vaccine intake.
If you have a young child, you must be vaccinated immediately after birth.
If you are exposed to blood, you can protect yourself from hepatitis B by taking appropriate measures quickly. They should go to a GP or A&E and inform him that they have had contact with the hepatitis B virus. They will receive an injection of HBIG immunoglobulin and start a cycle of vaccination against hepatitis B.
The patient must inform his family doctor and dentist that he or she is infected with hepatitis B.
Caution! A patient should not give up caring for children, school, work or other activities due to infection.
Hepatitis B virus cannot be transmitted through:
sneeze or cough;
kissing or hugging;
food or water;
shared use of plates or glasses;
occasional contacts (e. g. at work).