NHS Service

How Does Hepatitis B Spread?

How Does Hepatitis B Spread?


Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus that is passed via blood and bodily fluids. It doesn’t always cause any obvious symptoms in adults and can dissipate within a few months without treatment. However, in children, it can persist for years and may eventually cause liver damage. It is not a common illness in the UK compared to other parts of the world but certain groups can be at increased risk.  Touchwood Pharmacy offers the Hepatitis travel vaccination in Hanwell and the Hepatitis travel vaccination in Ramsgate.

What is Hepatitis B?

Essentially, Hepatitis B is a liver infection. It can be easily spread because many people remain symptomless and don’t realise they have it. If symptoms do appear, it can occur a couple of months after exposure to the disease.

It is important to have the vaccination if you are travelling to a location where Hepatitis B is widespread, but there are also more high-risk groups of people in this country because of the nature of how Hepatitis B is spread. Hep B can be spread by injecting drugs and sharing needles, by sex without using a condom and by having a tattoo or body piercing with equipment that is not sterile. Hepatitis B is not spread by kissing, coughing or sneezing or sharing crockery and utensils.

What is the treatment for Hepatitis B?

Treatment for Hepatitis B varies depending on how long the infection has been present.

If exposure to the virus has been very recent, then emergency treatment can prevent the infection. If you have had the virus for two to three months, treatment provided will be symptomatic whilst the body fights off the disease. If you have chronic Hepatitis B which means you have had the infection for more than six months, treatment may be offered which helps to control the virus and prevent long-term liver damage.

Which are the Hepatitis B risk countries?

There are certain parts of the world where Hepatitis B is endemic and these areas include the Pacific Islands, east and southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Your GP or pharmacist may advise you to have the Hepatitis B vaccine which is available from high street pharmacies like Boots and also Touchwood Pharmacy’s travel vaccination clinic.

Touchwood Pharmacy offers the Hepatitis B vaccine at our travel vaccination clinics in Ramsgate and Hanwell. Learn more on our website.  www.touchwoodpharmacy.com