Hepatitis B

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. Most adults who get it have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B.

Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B. Over time, it can damage your liver. Babies and young children infected with the virus are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B.

You can have hepatitis B and not know it. You may not have symptoms. If you do, they can make you feel like you have the flu. But as long as you have the virus, you can spread it to others.

What are the symptoms?

Many people with hepatitis B don't know they have it, because they don't have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may just feel like you have the flu. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling very tired.
  • Mild fever.
  • Headache.
  • Not wanting to eat.
  • Feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting.
  • Belly pain.
  • Tan-colored bowel movements (stools).
  • Dark urine.
  • Yellowish eyes and skin (jaundice). Jaundice usually appears only after other symptoms have started to go away.