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What is a Hep B Immunization?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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Hepatitis B or Hep B is a viral infection that endangers liver health and the health of other organs. It can be passed from mother to newborn, during sex, by using shared needles, or in places where exposure to body fluids and blood occurs regularly, as from poor hygienic conditions or in medical settings. There is fortunately a Hep B immunization, which is designed to help prevent the spread of this disease, and it is normally part of a routine immunization schedule. It might also be given to those who will be traveling to parts of the world where Hep B is very common, though this requires some planning since several shots are needed to confer full immunity and these must be spaced apart by certain periods of time.

In a normal immunization schedule, the first Hep B immunization could be given within the first few hours of a baby’s life. This is especially the case if the mother is known to have this condition. Early vaccination is thought crucial for prevention. If a child does not receive this vaccination before leaving a hospital, it’s likely he would receive it by four to eight weeks. Booster shots would then be given at four months and again at anywhere from six months to 18 months of age.

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Some physicians now offer a Hep A and Hep B immunization to prevent against Hepatitis A. Parents may want to ask doctors about the benefits of giving both. When the combined immunization is given, it usually follows the same schedule of three shots, spaced apart at specific intervals.

Hep B immunization is known as a relatively low risk shot that seldom causes any serious issues. It does contain a small amount of yeast of the baker’s type, since this used to make the vaccine. Those with allergies to baker’s yeast might not be able to get this shot.

Otherwise, the most common reactions to Hep B could be a little soreness where the shot was administered. Sometimes the injection develops a red bump. Occasionally people get a low-grade fever when they have this shot. In many cases, there is no discernable reaction to Hep B immunization. Yet, with infants who receive multiple vaccines at once, it would not be surprising for at least one to cause slight fever or irritability.

People may resist the Hep B immunization for their children because they do not suppose risk of contracting the disease is particularly high. The counterargument is that risk when a person has this illness is extremely high. People with Hepatitis B have this disease chronically, and it can seriously affect life and health b ny attacking the body’s liver. Though contraction rates in countries with good sanitary practices are low, especially for young children, this is not a guarantee that rates will stay low, and children grow up and may practice some of the risky behaviors described above.

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