Hepatitis B refers to a condition where the liver is infected with the virus it’s named after, more commonly known as HBV. It’s one of the five hepatitis types, including E, D, C, and A. Generally, the conditions likely to be long-lasting or chronic are C and B. According to the WHO, nearly three hundred million people live with the disease worldwide, with over a million contracting chronic HBV in 2019.
The acute type of hepatitis B tends to cause symptoms much quicker in adults than in infants. However, infants who get infected by it during birth rarely get the disorder in the short term. More often than not, these infections end up becoming chronic in infants. Chronic symptoms usually develop slowly and aren’t noticeable unless there are complications. Some of the most common signs of the disease are fatigue, dark urine, muscle and joint pain, abdominal discomfort, weakness, and jaundice.
Like most viral infections, hepatitis B can be transmitted through bodily fluids and blood. Those who think they’ve been exposed should immediately inform their healthcare providers. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent the onset of the disease and further complications as a result of developing this disease.
Medical practitioners usually give a dose of the vaccine and immunoglobulin for hepatitis B, antibody combinations that may offer short-term protection from the virus. While both may be administered up to seven days after the initial exposure, they’re most effective when given within the first forty-eight hours. If the diagnosis is for the acute variant, you may be referred to specialists who will likely order blood tests regularly to ensure it doesn’t develop into a long-term disease.
Most people who have short-term hepatitis B don’t experience any serious symptoms or severe complications unless it’s left unchecked. However, for those that do, lifestyle changes like getting enough rest, wearing loose clothing, staying in cool environments, and taking OTC or over-the-counter medications like naproxen can ease some of the condition’s attacks. Another change in your lifestyle that you should make is adopting a balanced and nutritious diet.
Limiting or avoiding substances that may damage the liver, such as specific supplements or medication like Tylenol and alcoholic beverages, is also advisable. If the test results still show an active hepatitis B infection after a few months, your physician may recommend additional treatment methods to help keep the disease under control.