Why It's Important to Get Vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B

In the last 20 years, the cases of hepatitis A and B have decreased by 90% and 80% respectively, largely due to the availability and effectiveness of vaccines. Reduce your risk of contracting the disease, which can be spread from person to person, by getting vaccinated today.

At Digestive Disorders Associates, we don’t want you to experience the symptoms that include abdominal pain, fatigue, joint pain, fever, and jaundice. The vaccine prevents the misery of an acute illness and the potential complications of liver failure, and even death, in sensitive populations.

Hepatitis A

If you’re infected with hepatitis A, you can spread the virus through some sexual contact and contaminated water or food. Approximately 20,000 people in the United States contract the disease each year.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B afflicts twice as many Americans, about 40,000. While many people get over the disease in a few weeks or several months, some people develop chronic hepatitis B infections that can lead to serious problems such as liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Hepatitis B is spread through bodily fluids, such as semen and blood, and is quite contagious. It cannot be spread through coughing, sneezing, breastfeeding, or contaminated food and water.

Vaccines are effective

Vaccines for hepatitis A and B give you a boost in combating the viruses that cause these disease. Vaccines include antibodies that cause your cells to develop immunity to the viruses. If you come into contact with the viruses that cause hepatitis A and B, you can successfully fight them off. Most babies are vaccinated early on -- between 12 and 23 months of age.

The vaccines offer long-term protection. Your body remembers its immune status even 30 years post-injection. And the way that the vaccines are created makes it impossible to contract the disease from the vaccine itself.

Process of vaccination

For comprehensive protection, get all the shots on schedule. For hepatitis A, you need two separate shots given six months apart, and for hepatitis B, you need a series of three given one month apart.

These vaccinations are important, even if you have a fear of needles. A little post=injection redness and tenderness is well worth protection from a virus that can cause weeks of misery or long-term liver disease.

People at greatest risk

While anyone can benefit from preventing hepatitis A and B with the vaccination, you should definitely consider it if you:

At Digestive Disorders Associates, we can help you determine if you need the hepatitis A or hepatitis B vaccine. If you fall into a high-risk category or aren’t sure you were vaccinated in your youth, contact our office to find out more about the vaccination process. Don’t delay, because once you have hepatitis A or B, the vaccine can’t cure it.

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