What are hepatitis A and B?
They are viruses that cause inflammation of the liver and can lead to long-term and even life-threatening problems.
What are the symptoms?
Many people with hepatitis don’t have symptoms. But if you do, you may have a fever, fatigue, nausea, and a loss of appetite. Children may have severe stomach pains and diarrhea.
How do you get these viruses?
Hepatitis A is extremely contagious. You can get it by having close contact with someone who has it, or through contaminated food or water.
You can get hepatitis B through contact with bodily fluids, like blood and semen, from someone who has it, or by sharing their personal items like razors or toothbrushes. You can also get it from sharing dirty needles used for injecting illegal drugs, and from body piercings and tattoos given with needles that aren’t sterilized. Women with hepatitis B can also pass it to their babies during birth. You can’t get the disease from casual contact.
When adults get hepatitis B, it’s usually a short-term infection. But about 90% of babies born with it will have a long-term infection.
Do I need the hepatitis A or B vaccines?
You should get the hep A vaccine if you:
- Are traveling to a country with a high rate of the disease
- Have a blood clotting disorder, like hemophilia
- Use drugs
- Are a man who has sex with other men