:: Hepatitis B ::

What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver disease. Hepatitis makes your liver swell and stops it from working right. You need a healthy liver. The liver does many things to keep you alive. The liver fights infections and stops bleeding. It removes drugs and other poisons from your blood. The liver also stores energy for when you need it.
Hepatitis B is caused by a virus. A virus is a germ that causes sickness. People can pass viruses to each other. The virus that causes hepatitis B is called the hepatitis B virus.

Transmission and spreading
Hepatitis B spreads by contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid.
You could get hepatitis B by
- having sex with an infected person without using a condom
- sharing drug needles
- having a tattoo or body piercing done with dirty tools that were used on someone else
- getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it
- living with someone who has hepatitis B
- sharing a toothbrush or razor with an infected person
- traveling to countries where hepatitis B is common
An infected woman can give hepatitis B to her baby at birth or through her breast milk.

You can NOT get hepatitis B by
- shaking hands with an infected person
- hugging an infected person
- sitting next to an infected person

Hepatitis B can make you feel like you have the flu. You might :
- feel tired
- feel sick to your stomach
- have a fever
- not want to eat
- have stomach pain
- have diarrhea

Some people have
- dark yellow urine
- light-colored stools
- yellowish eyes and skin
Some people don't have any symptoms.

What are the tests for hepatitis B?
To check for hepatitis B, the doctor will test your blood. These tests show if you have hepatitis B and how serious it is. The doctor may also do a liver biopsy.
A biopsy is a simple test. The doctor removes a tiny piece of your liver through a needle. The doctor checks the piece of liver for signs of hepatitis B and liver damage.

How is hepatitis B treated?
Treatment for hepatitis B may involve A drug called interferon. It is given through shots. Most people are treated for 4 months. A drug called lamivudine. You take it by mouth once a day. Treatment is usually for one year. A drug called adefovir dipivoxil. You take it by mouth once a day. Treatment is usually for one year.
Over time, hepatitis B may cause your liver to stop working. If that happens, you will need a new liver through a liver transplant. It involves taking out the old, damaged liver and putting in a new, healthy one from a donor.

How can I protect myself?
The best way is to get the hepatitis B vaccine. Vaccines teach your body to attack certain viruses, like the hepatitis B virus.
You can also protect yourself and others from hepatitis B if you
- use a condom when you have sex
- don't share drug needles with anyone
- wear gloves if you have to touch anyone's blood
- don't use an infected person's toothbrush, razor, or anything else that could have blood on it
- make sure any tattooing or body piercing is done with clean tools
- if you have hepatitis B, don't give your blood or plasma for donor