Every person should get the hepatitis vaccine at the time of their birth, we have two members of hepatitis that are the closest related diseases, and these are hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The other forms of hepatitis are C, D and E which are cause by a viral infection. What is the importance of the hepatitis B vaccine?
Hepatitis is marked by the inflammation of your liver and the consequences of getting the disease are indeed very serious, this can lead to some fatal cases. There are no vaccines for hepatitis C, D or E, but you can definitely get safe and effective vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B. You can also find a combination vaccine to protect both the diseases. While hepatitis A spreads through food or water, by sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing and sneezing, these do not happen for hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can spread if you come to contact with an infected person’s blood or other body fluids. This is the reason why certain types of people should consider taking the hepatitis B vaccine.
• If you are inject drugs and have a partner who does so as well.
• If you change your sexual partners frequently.
• Babies who are born to infected mothers.
• If you have a close relative or a sexual partner with hepatitis B.
• If you receive regular blood transfusions or blood products.
• If you suffer from any type of liver disease.
• If you have chronic kidney disease.
• Male and female sex workers are at high risk.
• Nurses, prison staff, doctors, dentists, laboratory staff who come in contact with various types of bloods and body fluids.
The youngest victims as in those who are infected during the prenatal period are those who face a ninety percent chance of becoming chronically infected. Thirty to fifty percent of infected children who are between the ages of one and five tend to develop chronic infection as compared to the six percent to ten percent of older children and adults who progress from being acute to a chronic infection.
Most number of deaths and disability that occur with hepatitis ten to be attributed to chronic infection which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
The World Health Organization reports that more than 240 million people have chronic liver infections and about 600 000 people die each year due to acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B. The vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing the infection and its consequences.
For the vaccination to work you require three injections of hepatitis B vaccine for over a period of four to six months, and in case you have an existing kidney problem then you will be followed up to see how you have responded to the vaccine. For those who are at a continuing risk of the infection are recommended the five year boosters. The vaccination is very safe and the only problem would be some redness and soreness at the site of injecting. Hepatitis B vaccination side effects are rare.
You should consult your doctor before getting the vaccine as some may have severe allergic reaction to the dose, also mention to your doctor about any allergies that you might have. If you are pregnant then you must take the vaccination under the proper guidance of your doctor.
Read more articles on Hepatitis B.
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