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Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B, also known as hep B, is a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. Most healthy adults can clear a hep B infection during the acute stage without any problems. However, some adults experience hepatitis B infections that last longer than six months. An infection lasting longer than six months is considered chronic hepatitis B. 

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a “silent infection.” Most people are asymptomatic -- they do not experience symptoms. Only one third of patients experience symptoms. The third of patients who do have symptoms may experience:  

  • Jaundice
  • Light-Colored stools
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

What causes Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is caused by transmission of the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). The virus is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids, including blood and saliva. Direct contact occurs during unprotected sex or when needles are shared. In a medical setting, accidental needlesticks and childbirth may transmit the virus. 

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Each year, 25,000 babies are born to mothers diagnosed with Hepatitis B.

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New Hepatitis B infections are most common in adults in their 30s. 

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HBV infections have declined by about 82% since a national strategy was implemented in 1991.

How is Hepatitis B Prevented?

Hepatitis B is a preventable condition. The Hep B vaccination is recommended for newborns, unvaccinated children, health care professionals, and injection drug users. It is also recommended that people who often encounter Hep B patients get the vaccination. Aside from being vaccinated, avoid certain activities to reduce the risk of contracting hep B, including: 

  • Engaging in unprotected sex
  • Using illegal drugs and sharing needles
  • Patroning body piercing or tattoo shops where sterility is questionable

How is Hepatitis B Treated?

Hepatitis B treatment is dependant on the infection, or potential infection.

  • Preventative treatments are for people who are unsure of their vaccination status and within 12 hours of exposure to the Hepatis B virus. If a patient qualifies for preventative treatment, they are given an immunoglobin, or antibody, injection designed to protect them from contracting the virus. 
  • Acute Treatments are not needed. Acute infections are short lived and are generally resolved without treatment. If you have an acute Hepatitis B infection, your physcician is likely to recommend rest, fluids and proper nutrition. In severe cases, antiviral drugs may be necessary to prevent complications from arising.
  • Chronic Hepatitis B Treatments last for the remainder of the patient's life. Undergoing treatment for chronic Hepatitis B reduces the risk of developing liver disease later in life and prevents the infection from passing to others. Available treatments for chronic Hepatitis B infections include:
    • Antiviral medications
    • Interferon injections
    • Liver transplant

How does Noble help me manage my Hepatitis B?

At Noble Health Services, we offer a variety of medications to help you treat your condition. We help you manage your condition through our Signature Care Program. Our program includes medication delivery, 24/7/365 on-call support, co-pay assistance and more. 

For more information on what Hepatitis B medications we offer, please view the Hepatitis B enrollment form.

For more information about Hepatitis B, contact the following resources: