Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus which can lead to an increased risk of chronic liver problems including liver cancer and cirrhosis. It is highly infectious and can be transmitted through bodily fluids and blood. It can remain infectious outside the body for 7 days. Some people fight off the infection without experiencing any symptoms. Symptoms tend to develop 2-3 months after exposure to the Hepatitis B virus. The acute illness is treated symptomatically but may need antivirals or interferon for chronic infection.
The best way to prevent hepatitis B virus is to be vaccinated and to minimise the risk of catching the virus by:
- Avoiding unprotected sex
- Avoid tattooing, piercing, & acupuncture (unless sterile equipment is used)
- Avoid sharing razor blades
- Avoid sharing tooth brushes
- Avoid sharing any other equipment that may have been contaminated with someone else’s blood
Many adults infected don’t experience any symptoms but will be able to pass the infection to other people. Main symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Joint and muscle pain
- Liver and upper right stomach pain
- Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Dark urine and pale grey faeces
Hepatitis B Vaccination
Vaccines: EngerixB or HBVaxPro
Course of three over a 6-month period or rapid course over 2 months. A very rapid course over 3 weeks is available but a 4th dose is then required at 12 months.
£37.50 per dose
Children’s Hepatitis B Vaccination
Vaccines: EngerixB Paediatric or HBVaxPro Paediatric
Course of three over a 6-month period or rapid course over 2 months.
£30 per dose
Hepatitis A&B Vaccination
Course of three doses over 6 months or a very rapid course is available with 3 doses over 21 days followed by a further dose at 12 months.
£70 per dose - currently unavailable
Children’s Hepatitis A&B Vaccination
Vaccines: Twinrix Paediatric or Ambirix Paediatric
Course of three doses over 6 months for Twinrix or 2 doses over 6-12 months for Ambirix.
£45 per dose - currently unavailable