What I Need To Know About Hepatitis B
Hepatitis (HEP-ah-TY-tis) makes your liver swell and stops it from working right. You need a healthy liver. The liver does many things to keep you alive. The liver fights infections and stops bleeding. It removes drugs and other poisons from your blood. The liver also stores energy for when you need it.
What causes hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is caused by a virus.
A virus is a germ that causes sickness. (For example, the flu is caused by a
virus.) People can pass viruses to each other. The virus that causes hepatitis B
is called the hepatitis B virus.
How could I get hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B spreads by contact with an infected person’s blood, semen, or
other body fluid.
You could get hepatitis B by
- having sex with an infected person without using a condom
- sharing drug needles
- having a tattoo or body piercing done with dirty tools that were used on
- getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it (health care
workers can get hepatitis B this way)
- living with someone who has hepatitis B
- sharing a toothbrush or razor with an infected person
- traveling to countries where hepatitis B is common
An infected woman can give hepatitis B to her baby at birth or through her