Q. What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?
The symptoms of acute Hepatitis B may not be apparent for months after exposure to HBV. However, the most common symptoms are fatigue (weakness), muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, fever, abdominal discomfort, and yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin (jaundice).
Q. Can Hepatitis B be spread through food or water?
No, Hepatitis B virus does not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, handholding, coughing, or sneezing.
Q. What are the chances that acute Hepatitis infection will develop into a chronic infection?
The chances of acute Hepatitis infection getting developed into a chronic infection depends on the age of the person infected. The chances of developing a chronic infection are comparatively high if a person gets infected at a young age. The chances are even higher for infected infants, as the rate of developing infection may go up to 90%. However, the risk goes down as a child gets older. Approximately 25%–50% of the children infected between the ages of 1 and 5 years will develop chronic Hepatitis B. On the contrary, about 95% of adults recover completely and do not become chronically infected.
Q. How long does the Hepatitis B virus survive outside the body?
The hepatitis virus has the capability of surviving outside the body for up to seven days. In fact, this virus remains capable of causing infection even during that time.
Q. How can Hepatitis B be prevented?
Hepatitis B can be best prevented by vaccination. The Hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective and should be given in three doses for full protection (at 0, 1, and 6 months).
Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
Q. How is Hepatitis B virus transmitted?
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a member of the Hepadnavirus family. It is transmitted primarily by body fluids, especially serum. It can also be transmitted by sexual transmission or from mother to baby. Majority of the infected individuals recover completely. Whereas, around 1-2% have persistent viral replication leading to chronic hepatitis. The frequency of developing a chronic HBV infection in immunocompromised patients is around 5-10% while in neonates it reaches 80%.