Hepatitis B|

Hepatitis B is a virus that is too small to see but can cause serious illness in the liver and the body.    A healthy liver cleans the blood, fights off infection, helps to break down food and nutrients and stores vitamins.  Hepatitis B can make the liver inflamed and scarred (cirrhosis) and unable to do its proper job.  Most people will feel well with no symptoms until the liver is very inflamed and scarred and then they may start to feel unwell.  This is because the virus can lay sleeping for a very long time and it’s not until the virus wakes up that you would feel unwell.

The Hepatitis B virus is carried in the blood and sexual fluids

All new born babies in Australia are offered a free course of four Hepatitis B vaccinations.  These injections usually protect children from getting Hepatitis B.  If a pregnant woman has Hepatitis B, she will need check ups with the doctor and an extra injection of antiglobulin is given soon after birth.  This should stop most babies from getting the Hepatitis B virus.  Both mother and baby would then need regular medical check for many years.

Hepatitis B can be found in several people in the same family, so if one family member has Hepatitis B, everyone in the immediate family should be tested.

So take care: vaccination is the best way to be protected.  Clean up blood and cover open sores.  Do not share razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers or earrings.  Do not share needles and equipment for tattoos, piercing or drug injecting.  Use condoms for sex.

Chronic Hepatitis B can cause liver disease and liver cancer.  Treatment reduces the chance of liver damage and liver cancer.  Medications work well and are easy to take.  Have a check up every 6 months if you have chronic Hepatitis B.

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