Hepatitis refers to any inflammation of the liver. There are at least 5 types of Hepatitis which are only distinguished by the method of their transmission.
Hepatitis B refers to the inflammation of the liver which is caused by the Hepatitis B Virus. This disease is transmitted via sexual contact or Intra-Venous Drug Abuse. It can also spread via contact of open skin lesions.
The virus goes through a 2 - 6 month incubation period. This Hepatitis B Virus is considerably infectious as it can remain stable outside the body for days and even weeks, and even in a dry atmosphere.
There are various Symptoms of Hepatitis B. They are:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Abdominal Pain
- Loss of Appetite
- Dark Urine
- Pale Stools
It is important to note that symptoms often do not manifest right away in people who have been infected by the Hepatitis B Virus. These symptoms are signs of later stages of this illness.
This illness and its long term consequences are the cause of hundreds of deaths across the globe. Most individuals can recover from the infection. However, if the immune system of the individual is already weakened, then he becomes a carrier of the Hepatitis B Virus.
Being infected by Hepatitis B can lead to further complications such as liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
Hepatitis B can be prevented by immunization using two-dose vaccines specifically developed for this disease.
Prevention of the disease is possible. Avoid sharing IV drug needles or any other drug equipment. One should also avoid getting tattooed or pierced on the body by non-sterilized needles or equipment. Practicing safe sex can also prevent this disease from spreading. Among other things, one should cover all open wounds and lesions. Avoiding sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes etc will also help prevent the spread of Hepatitis B.