Were you aware that a child can also catch hepatitis B? No I wasn’t either which is why today I am going to talk a little about children with hepatitis B and its treatments.
First of all, if you feel that your child is presenting any signs of hepatitis B it is so important for you to go and get them tested straight away. And if it does turn out that your child has hepatitis B, it is good to know that it will not in any way restrict your child’s growth and that they will not be able to infect other children with the virus.
It is also good health management if you were in the process of adopting a child to enquire about their health background, and ask for a hepatitis B test to be carried out especially if that child comes from a country that is known to have high levels of the virus. And it is not the end of the world if they do show as being hepatitis B positive we know that it is able to be completely curable, it would also be good practice to enquire about vaccination also so that they can start to build up an immunity to the virus.
So if any child does test positive what should we do? Well it seems that we have a couple of options to choose from, Intron A (interferon alpha) or Epivir-HBV (lamivudine), would be the drugs that most health professionals would choose to treat your child. It is also important that they see a liver consultant, sometimes a child that has the chronic strain of the hepatitis B virus will not need any treatment on their liver but I feel that it is always best to make sure that this is the case.
So if one child has the virus how do we then go about protecting the rest of the family? My answer to this would be to make sure everyone else in the family were also tested and that they were given the hepatitis B vaccine immediately so that protection to guard them against it could start straight away. It is prudent also to have a good hygiene practice in place in your home and also out of it, there should be no sharing of towels, nail trimmers or of a toothbrush. Learn your family the steps of hand hygiene and how to wash them in the correct manner for all germs to be washed away. Be honest with other extended family members or friends whether child or adult and please do make them aware of your situation, once they have had the vaccination they will have some level of protection and can visit or come to play as normal.
For those of you reading who are in the United States, any child who has the virus does need to be on a list, this information is then used to help understand the virus more and how to treat it.