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Hepatitis B virus – Why We Fear ?

What is Hepatitis B Infection?

Viral infection of the liver is called hepatitis. The classifications include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A is a short-term disease. However, hepatitis B, C, D, and E can become chronic. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) commonly spreads through: 


  • The infected mother to the child during the birth of the baby -mainly it considered that during caesarian section, chances are higher.
  • Infected blood and bodily fluids
  • The re-use of needles and syringes in health centers or among people who inject drugs
  • The malfunction of surgical instruments during surgeries, through tattooing or piercings
  • Exposure to contaminated blood by a needle stick injury or through the usage of contaminated razors
  • Unsafe sexual practices with unvaccinated or infected individuals

Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for seven days. It can easily infect a person who is not protected by the hepatitis B vaccine during this time. The incubation period of HBV is 75 days on average. However, the virus may be easily detected within 30 to 60 days post-infection.

The significant symptoms of Hep B infection one should watch for includes yellowing of the skin and eyes, accompanied with fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, dark urine, fatigue, and abdominal pain.

Hep B virus is a highly contagious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). HBV spreads when anyone comes in contact with the infected blood or certain body fluids (like urine or semen) of an infected person. The severity of the infection can describe as being mild to chronic, lasting to a severe life-long condition. Thus, the best way to prevent this infection is to get vaccinated.

Read here in detail all about Hepatitis B vaccinations.

Vaccination and its dosage

The Hepatitis B vaccine will help prevent the HBV infection and protect chronic conditions like liver cancer and cirrhosis. The vaccine is provided in different dosage-schedule, as per the age bracket:

  • Children (newborns to 10 years) usually get three doses:
    • 1st dose: At birth
    • 2nd dose: Between 1-2 months of age
    • 3rd dose: Between 6-18 months of age
  • Adolescents (between 11 years – 18 years of age) follow a three-dose regimen:
    • 1st dose: Can be taken on any date you choose
    • 2nd dose: After one month 
    • 3rd and the final dose: 6 months after the first dose
  • Unvaccinated adults are administered three doses:
    • 1st dose: Can be taken on any date you choose
    • 2nd dose: Within four weeks after the first dose
    • 3rd dose: 5 months after the second dose

Although it is vitally essential for all children to get vaccinated for Hepatitis B infection right at birth, it is recommended for all unvaccinated children up to 19 years of age. Hep B vaccine is considered to be crucial for the safety of a newborn. Take no chances, ensure that your little one gets the hepatitis B vaccine ‘IN TIME’ as the decision not to vaccinate your baby may put their life at risk.

Also, the ones mentioned below who are usually at a higher risk of getting infected should indeed get vaccinated:

  • HIV-positive individuals
  • People who’re being treated for any sexually transmitted infection
  • People who take drugs or share needles/syringes
  • Public health workers exposed to blood and body fluids
  • People traveling to areas with high rates of hepatitis B

It’s a relatively an inexpensive and safe vaccine. Therefore, in the present time, just about everyone should receive the hepatitis B vaccine, except the ones suffering from any other severe illness or any life-threatening allergic reaction. 

How long does the HBV vaccine last in the body?

Enters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the vaccine safeguards people’s health for at least 20-30 years. It would benefit them with long-term protection against clinical illness and chronic hepatitis B virus infection if they initiated Hepatitis B vaccination earlier than six months of age.

Keeping in mind that liver infections are as common as cold or flu, it is always a wiser approach to get tested for Hepatitis B and get timely vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and effective, and in most cases, infected people can combat the virus. Remember, a small step towards your liver’s health can go a long way in helping it function normally.

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