Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hepatitis B Vaccine

The hepatitis B virus, also known as HBV, is a very serious disease. This article is going to tell you a little bit about the disease and vaccine. If you know little about hepatitis, this article should give you some insight on the hepatitis B virus and the vaccine.

How is hepatitis B spread or how does a person get it? Hepatitis B is spread through contact with bodily fluids and the blood of an infected individual. You can hepatitis B through sexual contact and sharing needles when a person injects themselves with illegal drugs. If you work in the medical field, you can get hepatitis B if you are accidentally stuck with a needle on the job. Pregnant mothers can also pass the virus to their unborn child while in the womb.

What are the long term affects of hepatitis B? Hepatitis B can cause chronic illnesses that usually turn into liver damage or cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and/or death.

An estimated 1.25 million Americans in the United States get infected chronically with hepatitis B. The highest percentage of people who have hepatitis B are from the ages of 20 to 49 years of age. New infections of hepatitis B have declined since the 1980's due to the hepatitis B vaccine. New infections each year used to top 260,000 individuals, and has dropped to approximately 80,000 over the past 20 years. An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people die from hepatitis each year.

Everyone under 18 years old should get the hepatitis vaccine, and those older than 18 years old should get the vaccine if they are at risk of getting the virus. If you have not had the hepatitis B vaccine, and you are at risk for getting hepatitis B, you should really consider getting the vaccine. You are at risk for getting hepatitis B if you have more than one sexual partner in a 6 month period. You are at risk for getting hepatitis B if you are a man that has sex with other men, or if you have sex with a man that had had sex with another man. You are at risk if you inject illegal drugs or have sexual encounters with infected people. You are also at risk if you work in a health care facility, if you work in public safety, or if are a hemodialysis patient.

The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in 3 doses, however there are a few exceptions. Infants under six months of age should not be given the 3rd dose because it can reduce the long-term protection of the vaccine. Youth from the ages to 11 and 15 years of age may also only need two doses about 4-6 months apart.

There are some people who should not get the vaccine. You should not get the vaccine if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to baker's yeast, or if you have taken the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine and had a bad reaction to it. If you are even moderately ill, you should wait until you recover before you get the vaccine.

Are there any risks, and if so, what are they? Like any vaccine there is a risk of allergic reaction, but the risk of it causing serious harm or being fatal is almost unheard of. If you think about it, getting the hepatitis B vaccine is much safer than getting the hepatitis B virus. The majority of people who get the vaccine never have a problem with it. One out of eleven children and one out of 4 adults have soreness where the shot was actually given, which which only lasts a day or two. One out of fourteen children and one out of one hundred adults get a mild fever. Severe allergic reactions are extremely rare.

If you think you are having a reaction to the hepatitis vaccine, you should look for high fever and/or unusual behavior. If you were to have a serious reaction to the vaccine, it should happen within a few minutes to a few hours after getting the hepatitis B vaccine. Some other signs to look for are difficulty breathing, wheezing, hives, pale skin color, fast heart beat, dizziness and/or weakness. If you show any of these symptoms and think you are having a reaction to the vaccine, you should call your doctor and tell him that you have had the vaccine and think you are having a reaction to it.

Did you know there is a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program? If you or your child are have a serious reaction to a vaccine, there is a federal program that will help you pay for medical care resulting from a vaccine. To contact the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, you can call 1-800-338-2382 or you can go to their website at .

About the author :

Laura Fleenor - owner and webmaster of Articles 4 Me And and Particle Laura is also webmaster of K.A.G.E.D. Laura holds an AAS in Computer Programming, an AS in Information Technology, and a Certificate of Program Completion in Web Page Design/Publishing.

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