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Hepatitis B Symptoms

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Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that is manageable when caught in the first six months. It can be contracted through sexual activities, infected blood or sharing needles. Approximately 70% of cases are symptomless, so get tested if you may have been exposed.

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Most common hep B symptoms

  • Mild or no symptoms (70 percent of cases are symptomless)

Symptoms may include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchiness
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

How to tell if someone has hepatitis B

Getting tested for hepatitis B is the only way to know if someone is infected with the virus. Our doctors recommend the hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Confirmation by Neutralization Assay test. This test searches your blood for the hepatitis B antigen and can differentiate between acute (new) and chronic (long- term) infections. Also, the test can detect if you have been vaccinated and are, therefore, immune to the hepatitis B virus.

How soon do hepatitis B symptoms appear?

In acute hepatitis B cases, symptoms usually appear 3 months after exposure to the virus, but can delay as much as 6 weeks to 6 months post-exposure. If you show symptoms to the hepatitis B virus or are concerned about a recent exposure, taking a blood test is the best way to know if you are infected. Although hepatitis B can be detected as early as 3 weeks after exposure, our doctors recommend waiting 6 weeks to get tested.

If present, what are hepatitis B symptoms?

Acute hepatitis B symptoms can mimic flu-like symptoms that may show up anytime from 6 weeks to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms include unusual feelings of tiredness, lack of hunger, vomiting, stomach aches, fever and joint pain. Additional hepatitis B symptoms can include clay-colored bowel movements or yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).

Medically Reviewed by on Jun 18, 2019

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