Hepatitis B is a liver infection that’s caused by a virus spread through blood and bodily fluids. Whilst in adults it usually passes without treatment in a few months, in children it is more serious as it could last for years and cause serious liver damage.
There are areas of the world where hepatitis B is more common, including part of Saharan Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and even part of eastern and central Europe.
Most at risk are people who have unprotected sex with multiple partners and people who inject drugs.
It is possible to have no symptoms at all. If symptoms do develop, they will generally be appear 2-3 months after exposure and include:
Tiredness, fever, general aches and pains – a bit like ‘flu
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach ache
Seek medical advice if you think you might have been infected – if it’s early enough, you could be offered emergency treatment to prevent the infection, or treatment to relieve symptoms, keep the virus under control and prevent the possibility of liver damage.