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Hepatitis Health Center

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Understanding Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B and Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, you might pass the virus to your baby at birth. It’s less likely to happen during your pregnancy.

If your baby gets the virus and isn’t treated, he could have long-term liver problems. All newborns with infected mothers should get hepatitis B immune globulin and the vaccine for hepatitis at birth and during their first year of life.

How Is It Prevented?

To help keep a hepatitis B infection from spreading:

  • Get vaccinated (if you haven’t already been infected).
  • Use condoms every time you have sex.
  • Wear gloves when you clean up after others, especially if you have to touch bandages, tampons, and linens.
  • Cover all open cuts or wounds.
  • Don’t share razors, toothbrushes, nail care tools, or pierced earrings with anyone.
  • Don’t share chewing gum or pre-chew food for a baby.
  • Make certain that any needles for drugs, ear piercing, or tattoos -- or tools for manicures and pedicures -- are properly sterilized.
  • Clean up blood with one part household bleach and 10 parts water.

Can I Get It From Blood Transfusions?

Donated blood is tested for the virus, so your chances of getting the disease from a transfusion are low. Any infected blood is discarded.

Who Should Get the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

All newborn babies should get vaccinated. You should also get the shot if you:

  • Come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of friends or family members
  • Use needles to take recreational drugs
  • Have sex with more than one person
  • Work in a day care center, school, or jail

Is There a Cure for Hepatitis B?

No. But again, it often goes away in a few months, and it occasionally disappears in people who have a chronic case of the disease.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on July 09, 2014
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