Home treatment is important for relieving symptoms and preventing the spread of virus (HBV).
There is no specific medical treatment for short-term (acute) hepatitis B. But there are some things you can do that may help you feel better while the illness is running its course.
- Reduce your activity level to match yourenergy level. You don't have to stay in bed, but listen to your body and slowdown when you are tired.
- Don't go to work or school unless yourworkload can be reduced to match your energy level.
- Avoid strenuousexercise.
- As you start to feel better, go back to your regularactivities gradually. If you try to meet your regular pace too soon, you mayget sick again.
- Even though food may not appeal to you, it isimportant to eat well. For most people, nausea and loss ofappetite become worse as the day goes on. Try eating a substantial (but notheavy) meal in the morning and lighter meals later in theday.
- Doctors used to recommend a high-calorie,protein-rich diet to people who have hepatitis. This is no longer believed tobe of any benefit. And such foods can be hard to eat when you feel nauseated.Try to have a balanced diet while eating foods that appeal to you.
It is important that you keep your body well-hydrated when you have hepatitis B, especially if you have been vomiting.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If you cantolerate them, fruit juices and broth are other good choices, because theyprovide additional calories.
- Many of the "sports drinks" availablein grocery stores can help replace essential minerals ()that are lost during vomiting. You can also make your own.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Hepatitis impairs your liver's ability to process drugs and alcohol. If you take drugs (prescription or illegal) or drink alcohol when you have hepatitis, their effects may be more powerful and may last longer. In addition, alcohol and some drugs can make liver damage worse.
- If you are taking prescription medicines,your doctor may instruct you to stop using them until yourliver has had time to heal. Do not stop taking prescription medicines unlessyour doctor has told you to do so.
- Check withyour doctor before taking any new medicines orcontinuing the use of nonprescription medicines, including herbal productsand acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). Acetaminophen can make liver diseaseworse, especially if you continue to drink alcohol.
- You shouldavoid alcohol until your doctor feels that your liver iscompletely healed. This may take as long as 3 to 4 months.
Try to control itching
People with hepatitis sometimes develop itchy skin. You can control itching by keeping cool and out of the sun, wearing cotton clothing, or using nonprescription medicines such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton. Talk to your doctor if you want to take nonprescription medicines.
Be sure to follow the instructions that are provided with the product. And stop using the product if you have any side effects.
See your doctor regularly if you have chronic HBV infection
If you have been diagnosed with long-term (chronic) HBV infection, your doctor will recommend that you be vaccinated for if you have not been vaccinated or are not immune to this disease. For more information on hepatitis A, see the topic Hepatitis A. You also will need to visit your doctor regularly. He or she will do blood tests to monitor your liver function and the activity of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in your body. Some of the tests can tell your doctor whether HBV is actively multiplying in your liver, which increases your risk for chronic hepatitis. Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver disease such as or liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).