If your liver disease progresses, here are some extra precautions you should take:
- Get your yearly influenza vaccine. Patients with severe liver disease should also receive pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A. Hepatitis A can further damage your liver.
- Don’t eat raw oysters. Raw oysters may carry the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus which can cause a serious blood infection in individuals with liver disease. Approximately 40% of these cases are fatal.
How to protect others from HBV infection
People can get HBV infection from you by coming in contact with your blood, serum, semen, or vaginal fluids. HBV has also been transmitted by human bites. Although HBV has been detected in low concentrations in other body fluids, including tears, sweat, urine, feces, and breast milk, these fluids have not been associated with transmission. Fortunately, HBV is not spread by sneezing or coughing, or from casual contact such as holding hands. Here are some important guidelines for you to follow so that others are protected:
- Tell your sex partner(s) that you are infected with HBV. Your sex partner(s) must see a physician for hepatitis B blood testing. If, according to the blood tests, your partner has never had hepatitis B, he or she should be vaccinated. After the series of three shots is completed, your partner needs to return to the doctor for blood testing to make sure the vaccine protected him or her. Use condoms until your partner is proven to be protected from HBV.
- Make sure all household members see their physicians for hepatitis B testing and vaccination.
- Tell your health care providers that you are infected with HBV.
- Cover all cuts and open sores with a bandage.
- Throw away used personal items such as tissues or menstrual pads in a bag so others will not be exposed to your blood.