Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. Most adults who get it have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B.

Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B. Over time, it can damage your liver. Babies and young children infected with the virus are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B.


What causes Hepatitis B?

It's caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person.

You may get hepatitis B if you:

  • Have sex with an infected person without using a condom.
  • Share needles (used for injecting drugs) with an infected person.
  • Get a tattoo or piercing with tools that weren't sterilized.
  • Share personal items like razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.

What are the symptoms?

Many people with hepatitis B don't know they have it, because they don't have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may just feel like you have the flu. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling very tired.
  • Mild fever.
  • Headache.
  • Not wanting to eat.
  • Feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting.
  • Belly pain.
  • Tan-colored bowel movements (stools).
  • Dark urine.
  • Yellowish eyes and skin (jaundice). Jaundice usually appears only after other symptoms have started to go away.