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Hepatitis Type B

Hepatitis is a contagious viral infection of the liver. There are three common types: A, B and C. You have Type B, sometimes called "Serum Hepatitis." This disease is usually passed by sexual contact with a person who has the virus or by sharing needles/syringes with such a person. Symptoms begin 2-6 months after exposure and include fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, weakness, dark urine, light colored stool, aching joints and yellow color of skin or eyes. Symptoms usually last 1-3 months.

Home Care:

  1. A diet low in saturated fats and high in fruits and vegetables is best for you and your liver. Small, frequent meals are best when nausea is present.

  2. If you are having symptoms of hepatitis, you may fatigue easily. Get lots of rest. Don't exert yourself too much.

  3. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) can be toxic to the liver in high doses, with prolonged use or in the presence of existing liver damage.

    • Persons with acute (recently diagnosed) hepatitis should not take these medicines unless approved by your doctor.

    • Persons with chronic (long-standing) hepatitis and advanced liver disease should not take these medicines.

    • Persons with only mild or no liver damage from chronic hepatitis may take acetaminophen in low doses (2 grams per 24 hours). Do not take anti-inflammatory medicines. Never take acetaminophen with alcohol since this increases the risk of liver damage.

  4. Alcohol stresses the liver and should be avoided for several months until all symptoms have cleared and liver tests are normal.

Preventing Spread Of The Hepatitis Virus:

This virus is present in the blood and sexual contact. Inform your partner and use condoms when you have sex until the virus has been eliminated from your system. Condoms may lower the risk of spreading the virus but are not a guarantee. Never share needles, syringes, tattoo equipment, snorting straws, razors or tooth brushes. Do not attempt to donate blood. If you require medical or dental care, inform the staff that you have hepatitis so that extra care may be taken to avoid spread of the infection. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, notify your physician. Hepatitis can be transmitted to the fetus.

Persons exposed to you in any of the ways described above should contact their physician or the Public Health Dept. as soon as possible for a protective immunization. This can be given up to two weeks after exposure.

Follow Up

with your doctor as directed to be sure that you are doing well and developing no complications. It is possible to become a chronic carrier of the Hepatitis B virus, in which case you could infect others even though you no longer feel ill. Only a blood test can identify this condition. Therefore, it is important to have a follow up exam.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Frequent vomiting

  • Weight loss from poor appetite

  • Increase in abdominal pain or swelling

  • Increasing drowsiness or confusion

  • Weakness, dizziness or fainting

  • New or increasing yellow color of skin or eyes

  • Bleeding from the gums or nose, easy bruising


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