Two common liver diseases are Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.  It begins without any symptoms, which eventually escalate to vomiting, dark urine, abdominal pain, yellow skin, and feeling tired.  Its symptoms are inflammation and edema of the liver, which interferes with its function.  This is one of the most common chronic liver diseases.  

 

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can cure itself if the infection is acute (self-limiting).  Sometimes it will even disappear spontaneously after several weeks.  However, the virus will stay in the body, and can reactivated in those with compromised immune systems.

 

Children

Children are at risk of getting Hepatitis B from blood transfusion (like for a premature baby), so it is imperative that a baby receives a Hepatitis B vaccine from birth.  Additionally they need to receive three shots for it in the time period of 6 months.  If the mother herself has Hepatitis B, the baby needs a different vaccine 12 hours after being born.  If your children are younger than 18 and have not had the vaccine, they will need “catch-up” shots.

 

Adults

Adults need vaccinated for Hepatitis B as well.  Drug users, especially those who use injectables like heroine, are at the highest risk.  The second highest risk is people who have sex with more than one person, or men who have sex with men.  Kidney disease, HIV, or chronic liver disease are a concern about the virus.  Healthcare workers are at risk from coming in contact with the disease from the bodily fluids they handle on a daily basis, as are people who live with another person who has the disease.

 

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a whole different ballgame: There is no vaccine for it.  Unlike Hepatitis B, which develops quickly, Hepatitis C have “invisible” symptoms, eventually scarring the liver.  Individuals with cirrhosis are at risk of liver failure or liver cancer.

 

Transmission

These viruses are spread by blood or bodily fluids from the person carrying the virus.  You can't get the virus by holding hands, sharing drinking glasses, hugging, sneezing, coughing, kissing, or breastfeeding.  

 

To avoid this kind of contact, you will not want to share razors or toothbrushes (these can open blood vessels), be cautious when getting tattoos, any drug equipment including straws for snorting drugs or hypodermic needles, and to clean blood spills using 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.  In additiona you need to practice safer sex at all times.  The safest relationship is a monogamous relationship.

 

The chances of getting a Hepatitis B infection from a blood transfusion are reduced because all blood donations are screened.  The virus is tracked by reporting people who have just found they have the disease.  If you find that you have it, you may be able to prevent infection by getting the Hepatitis B vaccine, or Hepatitis Immune Globulin (HBIG) shot within 24 hours.  

 

Hepatitis B and C are chronic liver diseases that both children and adults can catch, and that affect the liver.  It is transmitted by blood and bodily fluids.  Overall you need to cautious around anything that comes in contact with those fluids, and to be safe.