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Understanding Hepatitis B (HBV)

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Certain viruses can cause hepatitis. One is the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B can lead to serious damage to your liver.

How is HBV Diagnosed?

Collage of bloodmobile, hand holding syringe, and hand accepting razor from another hand. Circle and slash is on top of collage.

HBV can be diagnosed with a blood test. It some cases, HBV may cause symptoms. These may included the following:

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen

  • Flulike symptoms (tiredness, weakness, headache, sore muscles and joints)

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

  • Jaundice (yellowed skin or eyes, swelling of the abdomen, light stools, dark urine)

Preventing the Spread

A vaccine may prevent hepatitis B in people who don’t yet have it. Ask any sex partners and anyone who lives with you to get tested and vaccinated. If you have hepatitis B, follow these guidelines to keep from giving the virus to others.

Do

  • Use condoms each time you have sex.

  • Cover all skin breaks and sores. If someone helps you, have them wear protective gloves.

Don't

  • Don’t donate blood, plasma, sperm, or body organs or tissue.

  • Don’t share needles.

  • Don’t share razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, eating utensils, or other personal items.

  • Don’t get tattoos or body piercings.

© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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