Hepatitis A and B are viral infections that affect the liver. Hepatitis A is usually passed on through infected food and water, while Hepatitis B is passed on through body fluid contact from an infected individual.
Hep A is a viral infection passed on through infected food and water. It travels to the liver causing swelling and inflammation often causing severe symptoms. Thankfully the disease is self-limiting, which means all that is needed is supportive treatment and your body will eliminate the virus on its own.
Hep B is much more serious. It is passed on through body fluid contact/exchange from an infected individual. The worry with Hep B is that it may not be removed entirely from the body and then becomes a chronic, lifelong infection. This doesn’t mean you will always have symptoms of liver inflammation but it does mean it can flare up at any time for the rest of your life. In addition, chronic Hep B is an increased risk factor for developing liver cancer.
The vaccine is a mixed Hep A and B vaccine. Taken in 3 doses at 0, 1 and 6 months with boosters given approximately 3-5 years after. The vaccine give very good protection against both diseases and is an important part of remaining healthy.
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