Hepatitis B Vaccine

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Warner Plaza Urgent Care offers a wide range of vaccinations, including the hepatitis B vaccine.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that can have severe symptoms and can lead to lifelong illness if the infection becomes chronic.

Hepatitis B is caused by the highly contagious Hepatitis B virus. The virus infects the liver and is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. Fluids that can carry the virus include blood and semen and can contain the Hepatitis B virus even if the infected fluids are no longer in the body. The hepatitis B virus can live for at least seven days on objects such as needles, toothbrushes, and razors. Objects contaminated with hepatitis B virus infected fluid are still contagious even if the fluid cannot be seen by the naked eye. According to the CDC, “Hepatitis B virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.”

The most common way Hepatitis B is spread is through sexual contact with an infected partner. Around two thirds of Hepatitis B infections are spread through sexual contact.

Hepatitis B infection symptoms do not occur immediately after exposure to the virus. Infection symptoms can be seen anywhere between 6 weeks to 6 months after exposure. The average time it takes for symptoms to appear is 3 months.

Hepatitis B infections can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). In acute cases of infection, symptoms include flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tiredness, jaundice, and joint and muscle pain. People experiencing acute infections will experience symptoms of the virus but will make a full recovery.

In chronic (long-term) cases, the viral infection passes past the acute stage and becomes a long-term condition that can cause severe damage to and disease of the liver. Chronic cases of Hepatitis B come with serious effects, which can include liver damage, liver cancer, and death. Infants and young children who have been infected with hepatitis B are at the highest risk of experiencing chronic infection and disease. Adults are less likely to have chronic Hepatitis B.

What is the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

The hepatitis B vaccine is the best form of protecting your health against hepatitis B. The vaccine helps the body create a natural immune response that protects against the hepatitis B virus. The hepatitis B vaccine is safe and very effective. Statistically, it protects more than 90% of people vaccinated before exposure.

The hepatitis B vaccine is administered through a series of three to four injections. Adults receive the vaccine injections in their arm muscle while infants receive their injections in their thigh muscle. The series of injections is administered over a period of six months.

The protective effects of the Hepatitis B vaccine can last for up to 20 to 30 years or longer.

What Are the Side Effects of the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

According to the CDC, no serious side effects of the hepatitis B vaccine have been reported. The CDC’s VIS (Vaccine Information Statement) states that minor health problems following the hepatitis B can include temperature of 99.9% F or higher and soreness or redness at the injection site. The VIS also states that these symptoms usually begin shortly after the shot is administered and last for for one to two days. More rare reactions include longer-lasting or severe shoulder pain and dizziness or fainting immediately immediately after the vaccine injection.

As with any vaccine, allergic reactions may occur. The CDC estimates that only about 1 in every 1 million doses of vaccines cause allergic reactions. But if you’re concerned about any suspected side effects of your hepatitis B vaccine, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. If you suspect you’re having a severe allergic reaction, call 911 and proceed to the nearest hospital immediately.

Who Should Get the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for everyone, except those who have previously had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine or its components (which includes baker’s yeast). Additionally, those who are moderately to severely ill should wait until their health recovers to get the vaccine.

It’s recommended by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) that children get their first hepatitis B vaccine at birth to protect from Hepatitis B disease. After the first injection at the time of birth, children should complete their series of vaccinations by 6 to 18 months of age.

Adolescents or adults who did not get vaccinated at birth should still be vaccinated. If you have never received the hepatitis B vaccine, it’s recommended that you do so as soon as possible if you desire protection from hepatitis B.

Certain people are at a higher risk of hepatitis B exposure and are strongly recommended the vaccination. Those at high risk of hepatitis B exposure include people who live with someone with chronic hepatitis B, users of injectable drugs, people who share needles, hemodialysis patients, men who have sex with men, people who have sex with an infected person, people with multiple sex partners, people with sexually transmitted diseases, people who are exposed to blood at work, people who travel to countries with higher rates of hepatitis B, and infants born to infected mothers.

Where Does Hepatitis B Occur?

Hepatitis B occurs worldwide. To avoid disease caused by hepatitis B, it’s recommended that people living in all areas of the world receive the vaccine.

Some areas do have higher rates of hepatitis B infection. Because of this, travelers to these areas are more highly recommended the vaccine.

The World Health organization reports that Hepatitis B prevalence is highest in the WHO Western Pacific Region and the WHO African Region. The Western Pacific Region has a 6.2% rate of infection and the African Region has a 6.1% rate of infection.

Warner Plaza Urgent Care offers the hepatitis B vaccine. It’s important to stay on top of your health and follow a vaccination schedule. We offer any CDC- recommended vaccination. To discuss a vaccination needed for your trip, contact our office today and schedule a consultation. To get vaccinated, call to make an appointment, make an appointment online, or come in for a walk-in appointment.

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