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Home > Blog > All You Need to Know About the Hepatitis B Infection and the HBsAg Test

All You Need to Know About the Hepatitis B Infection and the HBsAg Test

All You Need to Know About the Hepatitis B Infection and the HBsAg Test

Max Lab

Mar 08, 2022

Hepatitis B infection refers to a condition that causes irritation and inflammation in the liver and can lead to a number of serious health issues if not treated in time. The infection is caused by the Hepatitis B virus, also known as HBV and is commonly spread through blood, semen, or other bodily fluids, like saliva. The transmission of hepatitis B is also possible from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy. This is known as the perinatal transmission of hepatitis B. On the other hand, when the infection is spread by coming in contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person, it is known as the horizontal transmission of Hepatitis B.

Types of Hepatitis B Infection

The hepatitis B infection can be categorised into:

Acute: In the simplest words, an acute hepatitis infection affects a person for a short period of time. The symptoms of hepatitis B do not even show up In many cases, while others may start showing noticeable hepatitis B symptoms only after a few weeks of infection. In case of an acute infection, the complete treatment of hepatitis B may involve maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making changes to one’s diet.

Chronic: When a person is unable to recover completely from hepatitis B because of a weak immune system and the infection lasts for more than six months, it is considered to be a chronic infection. Generally, infants, young children, and people suffering from serious medical conditions are prone to developing a chronic hepatitis B infection. In such cases, the infection can become life-threatening, as it can lead to permanent liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), or other serious liver diseases, like cancer, if left untreated.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B symptoms are quite similar to those of flu and include constant lethargy, low-grade fever, body ache, joint pain, etc. Other common symptoms of hepatitis B include weight loss, poor appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and jaundice (which can also cause dark urine and pale stools).

Prevention of the Hepatitis B Infection

There are several steps one can take to avoid a positive HBsAg test result:

Vaccination: Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination. New-born babies should get the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine at the time of birth, followed by two more doses between the age of 6 and 18 months. Pregnant women should also get hepatitis B vaccination to reduce the chances of transmitting the infection to their unborn child.

Avoid Using Dirty Syringes: Using contaminated needles or syringes is also a common way of hepatitis B transmission. It is always recommended to use a fresh needle or one that has been sterilized for at least 20 minutes, whether it is being used for vaccination, acupuncture, or any other medical procedure.

Be Careful While Getting a Tattoo or Piercing: Getting a piercing or tattoo with the same needle that has been used for someone else increases the risk of getting the infection. So, it is important to make sure the equipment used for piercings or tattoos are clean.

Avoid Unprotected Sex: Vaginal fluids or semen of an infected person can also spread hepatitis B, so it is best to avoid unprotected sexual exposure.

What Does Not Cause Hepatitis B?

While it is important to stay protected from this infection, it is also important to bust the common myths that surround its transmission. You will not get infected by hepatitis B if:

  • An infected person coughs or sneezes around you.
  • You accidentally drink water that is not clean or has not been boiled.
  • You eat food that has not been properly cooked.
  • You hug a person with an active infection or shake hands with them.
  • You share utensils or eat with an infected person or sit next to him/her.

The HBsAg Blood Test for Hepatitis B Detection

The HBsAg blood test, or the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test, Is performed to detect hepatitis B. A positive HBsAg result indicates the presence of the virus, it cannot help identify the type of hepatitis B infection. In case of a positive HBsAg result, the doctor may order the more comprehensive hepatitis viral panel for a more accurate diagnosis. The HBsAg is a blood test and the sample for testing is collected from a vein in the person’s arm.

Hepatitis B Treatment

In case of a positive HBsAg result, one should consult their doctor at the earliest. The doctor will be able to order further tests if required, and provide you with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for dealing with the condition. There are no specific treatment requirements for an acute hepatitis B infection, but a patient may be advised to take a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and get plenty of bed rest. Chronic hepatitis B treatment aims to reduce the incidence of liver cancer, slow cirrhosis progression, and improve chances of survival through antiviral drugs.

Hepatitis B is an infection that can lead to major health issues. The worst thing about this infection is that it can go undetected easily for months, or even for years at times. Early detection is essential for the proper treatment of hepatitis B.

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