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What is Hepatitis?
Of the modern infectious diseases, hepatitis is one that many people worry about. Hepatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the liver. It may be caused by several factors, such as alcohol intake, use of certain drugs and exposure to chemicals. Another cause of hepatitis is infection with different strains of viruses that commonly affect the liver. These infections usually vary in severity depending on the kind of the infecting virus. Examples include hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
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What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is also referred to as serum hepatitis. Hepatitis B can be transferred from one person to another through blood transfusions, sharing of contaminated needles and unprotected sex. The disease can also be transmitted by an infected mother to her child during childbirth. Symptoms include mild fever, vomiting, skin itchiness, body aches, nausea, loss of appetite, poor health and dark urine. Jaundice or the yellowing of the eyes and skin, is also a common manifestation.
Hepatitis B can be an acute or chronic condition. It is called acute or short term infection when a person recovers from the disease. A chronic condition occurs when the infection lasts for six months or more, and the patient then becomes a chronic carrier of the hepatitis B virus. This means that they are capable of transmitting the disease to others. The condition can also lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
Prevention of hepatitis B is available through vaccination.
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What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver condition caused the hepatitis C virus. Similar to hepatitis B, it can be transmitted from one person to another through unprotected sex and use of unprotected needles. The condition however, may present with milder symptoms compared to hepatitis B infection. Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue and fever. It can also lead to liver failure. There is no available vaccination against the hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis B or hepatitis C may worsen when an infected person continues to consume excessive alcoholic beverages, and this can result in fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver.
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Is it Possible to Have Hepatitis B and C at the Same Time?
Yes, it is possible to have hepatitis B and C at the same time. This can occur especially in individuals who share unprotected needles with several persons and those who practice unprotected sex with multiple partners. When this occurs, the rate of liver deterioration is usually worsened.
There are several measures to be taken which can prevent the spread of hepatitis. These include practicing safe sex, and if possible, to have only one partner, and to avoid sharing personal things like razors and toothbrush. Another way is to get vaccinated against the Hepatitis A and B viruses.