If you have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, you might feel uncertain about what that means for you long-term.
Did you know?
There are an estimated 9,000 people in Scotland living with hepatitis B, with people from Chinese communities particularly affected.
Waverley Care’s Chinese Health Project has been working with people from Chinese communities in Glasgow and Lanarkshire to provide information about hepatitis B and help them to get tested, vaccinated and treated.
Living with hepatitis B
Below are some tips on how to take a care of yourself and to protect the people around you if you are living with hepatitis B:
- Protect your liver and eat healthy and balanced diet: your diet has a direct effect on your liver and eating healthy can help protect your liver from toxins and overload. Things like smoking, alcohol and drug use are particularly toxic to your liver.
- Exercise regularly: exercise has benefits to both your body and mind, and in the long term, can strengthen your immune system and boost your liver function.
- Use condom when having sex: hepatitis B can be passed on during sex via body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids and blood. You should use condoms and other protection during sexual activity unless you’re sure your partner(s) have been vaccinated against hepatitis B.
- Take precautions to avoid passing on hepatitis B to others: hepatitis B can survive outside the body for 7 days and can be easily passed on through contact with even a small amount of blood. It is important to appropriately dispose of anything that might have been in contact with your blood or other body fluids.
- Speak to your doctor if you’re thinking of having a baby: People with hepatitis B can have a healthy pregnancy, but it’s a good idea to discuss your plans with a doctor first as you may need extra care and your medications may need to be changed.
Hepatitis B and pregnancy
The virus can be passed from the birthing parent to the baby during birth and delivery. Therefore, all pregnant people in UK are offered an antenatal blood test for hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B affects children (especially before the age of 5 years) more severely than adults. If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis B while pregnant, or are planning for a baby, you can protect your baby with appropriate treatment and care. This will usually involve some blood tests to find out how much of the hepatitis B virus is in your blood, and you might be advised to take treatment to keep your levels low.
Your baby will receive a vaccination for hepatitis B immediately after birth and at 12 months. You can breast/chestfeed your baby safely. It is very important to attend all your appointments after the baby is born to keep you and your baby well.
Looking for support?
If you are living with hepatitis B and need support understanding a new diagnosis, treatment or navigating life with hepatitis B, we are here to help. Get in touch with us by filling out our contact form.