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Hepatitis B is a liver infection. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus.
A mother who has the virus can pass it to her baby during delivery. If you have the virus, your baby can get shots to help prevent getting the virus.
The virus can also be spread:
You can't get hepatitis B from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or drinks.
After your child is infected, it may be 1 to 6 months before symptoms start. Or symptoms may be so mild that you do not notice them. But your child can give the infection to other people both before and after symptoms start.
Your child may get hepatitis B and get better. This is called acute hepatitis B. Your child will not get it again.
If the virus stays in your child's body for a long time, it can cause serious liver disease. This is called chronic hepatitis B.
Most people who get hepatitis B do not have symptoms. If your child does have symptoms, they will usually start to go away in 2 to 3 weeks. Symptoms may include:
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: June 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
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