Hepatitis B vaccine: Answers to your most-asked questions

1. Why get vaccinated?

Hepatitis B is a serious disease.
The hepatitis B virus can cause short-term (acute) illness that leads to:

  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • tiredness
  • jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
  • pain in muscles, joints, and stomach

It can also cause long-term (chronic) illness that leads to:

  • liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • liver cancer
  • death

About 1.25 million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

Each year it is estimated that:

  • 200,000 people, mostly young adults, get infected with hepatitis B virus
  • More than 11,000 people have to stay in the hospital because of hepatitis B
  • 4,000 to 5,000 people die from chronic hepatitis B

Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B. It is the first anticancer vaccine because it can prevent a form of liver cancer.

2. How is hepatitis B virus spread?

Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. A person can get infected in several ways, such as:

  • during birth when the virus passes from an infected mother to her baby
  • by having sex with an infected person
  • by injecting illegal drugs
  • by being stuck with a used needle on the job
  • by sharing personal items, such as a razor or toothbrush with an infected person

People can get hepatitis B virus infection without knowing how they got it. About 1/3 of hepatitis B cases in the United States have an unknown source.

FILED UNDER:
Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web