By Mr. Song Hong
Why should we get hepatitis B vaccine?
Hepatitis B is a serious disease and it affects our liver. The disease is caused by a virus Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B in the first stage of symptoms may be mild in the first few weeks. It can then lead to very serious chronic hepatitis. It leads to Cirrhosis and loss of life.
What are the symptoms of severe Hepatitis B?
Short-term pain that occurs in the first six months after someone has been infected with hepatitis B virus. This disease can cause fever, fatigue, hunger, loss of appetite, nausea or abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc. A person may also have Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes, black urine, gray stools). S/he may feel soreness in muscles, joints and stomach.
When does Hepatitis become chronic?
Chronic pain that occurs when the hepatitis B virus stays in the body. Most people with chronic hepatitis B have no symptoms, but it is still a serious case and can cause Liver damage (cirrhosis), cancer, and loss of life.
People with chronic hepatitis B can transmit the hepatitis B virus to others. Also, even if they are not aware that they are sick or have no symptoms. As many as 1.4 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis. About 90% of children develop hepatitis B and become chronically hepatitis B, and about 1 in 4 people die.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood, semen or body fluids. The virus can be transmitted through:
1. Childbirth (mothers with Hepatitis B can pass it on to their babies at birth if the midwife is not careful and does not have proper hygiene).
2. Sharing a razor or toothbrush with the patient
3. Exposure to the patient’s blood or wounds
4. People who have multiple sexual partners and with people with Hepatitis B
5. Men who have intercourse with other men
6. Unprotected intercourse with Hepatitis B patients
7. Exposure to blood or other sharp objects
8. People who have been in contact with a family member infected with hepatitis B virus
9. Public health and safety staff at risk of exposure to blood or body fluids.
10. Travelers to areas with high rates of hepatitis B
Each year, about 2,000 people in the United States die from hepatitis B. Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, including Cancer and Cirrhosis.
The Hepatitis B vaccine is made from a component of the hepatitis B virus. It is usually given three times in one to six months.
Babies should receive their first dose at birth and usually receive the full dose at 6 months of age.
Unvaccinated children, adolescents and adults should get the vaccine as soon as possible.