Just like hepatitis C hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. Most adults who get hepatitis B have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B.
Just like with C you can have hepatitis B and not know about it. You may have no symptoms. If you do, they may feel like you have a flu. The problem is: you can spread it to others, and those others may have a worse problem with it than you do.
Chronic hepatitis B can damage your liver. Babies and young children infected with the virus are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is passed on through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person.
You may get hepatitis B if you:
- Have sex with an infected person without using a condom.
- Share needles (used for injecting drugs) with an infected person.
- Get a tattoo or piercing with tools that were not cleaned well.
- Share personal items like razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.
- A mother who has the virus can pass it to her baby during delivery. If you are pregnant and think you may have been exposed to hepatitis B, get tested. If you have the virus, your baby can get shots to help prevent infection with the virus.
You cannot get hepatitis B from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or drinks.
How is hepatitis B diagnosed? The diagnosis starts with a blood test. LabFlorida offers hepatitis panel of tests for all kinds of hepatitis, meaning that we can run many tests on one blood draw.