You probably got it soon after you were born: The first dose of the hepatitis B vaccination. In addition, you were probably vaccinated against hepatitis A between ages 1 & 2.
But maybe you didn’t, or maybe you didn’t get the entire series of shots for full medical immunity. Check your immunization record to see if you’re immunized against Hep A & B (and if it’s not comprehensible, ask a doctor or a nurse who works with vaccinations). You need to know where you stand on the Hep A & B vaccinations. Why? Because both Hep A & B are liver inflammation diseases, which could last a few weeks at best, and unfortunately be fatal at worst.
What is the difference between Hep A and Hep B?
The difference between Hep A and Hep B is in how they are acquired. Hep A is transmitted between people, especially in unsanitary conditions, or contaminated food or water. Hep B is transmitted via bodily fluids, namely semen and blood, meaning a mother can pass it to her baby during birth. Incidentally, there are other liver viruses of the same family — Hep C, D and E — however there are currently no vaccines to protect against them.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of hepatitis are often misdiagnosed because they are similar to flu or other everyday cold or digestive issue symptoms. Common hepatitis symptoms are as follows:
· Appetite loss
· Low fever
· Joint or muscle aches
· Abdominal pains
More specific hepatitis symptoms can include:
· An itchy feeling
· Jaundice (eye whitening, and yellowing of the skin)
· Dark urine
· Light-colored stools
· Internal bleeding
· A feeling of being in a “daze” or even going into a coma
What If I Wasn’t Fully Vaccinated?
While most people who contract hepatitis recover quickly, the risk of being affected for months — or even for life — still exist. For this reason, the medical staff at Miami Center for Excellence encourages Hep A & B vaccinations. Contact us for more info.