Contact a doctor immediately if you have been diagnosed with and develop severe (caused by vomiting and an inability to hold down fluids) or any of the following signs of rapidly developing liver failure:
- Extreme irritability (greater than would be expected in a person who is feeling ill).
- Impaired ability to think or reason clearly.
- Extreme drowsiness.
- Swelling of the arms, legs, hands, feet, abdomen, and/or face (edema).
- Heavy bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum (including blood in the stool), or under the skin.
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice).
If you witness a person with hepatitis B become unconscious, call or other emergency services.
Call to make an appointment if:
- You have any of the hepatitis B risk factors listed in the What Increases Your Risk section of this topic, and you think you need to be tested for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection or receive the hepatitis B vaccine.
- You have any symptoms of hepatitis B (see the Symptoms section of this topic).
- Someone in your household has been diagnosed with hepatitis B.
- Your sex partner has been diagnosed with hepatitis B.
- You have been bitten by or exposed to the blood or body fluids (such as or vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood) of someone who has hepatitis B.
Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. Because of the need to prevent the spread of hepatitis B, watchful waiting is not recommended if you have symptoms of hepatitis B or if you think you have come in contact with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Because all forms of have similar symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for a blood test when symptoms arise, so that he or she can rule out other forms of the illness. A doctor also can advise you about how to prevent the spread of the virus.
Who To See
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection usually can be diagnosed by:
The following specialists may work with your doctor to plan treatment:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.