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Hepatitis B Exposure

Post Exposure Prophylaxis

hep b
Hepatitis B is a viral infection. It’s a serious illness causing liver inflammation. Infection occurs by being exposed to blood or body fluids and is a risk for healthcare workers and anyone else dealing with medical waste. It is transmitted by needlestick injury, during sexual intercourse, by mother to child at birth, unsterile tattoos or sharing drug needles.

Post exposure prophylaxis (prevention) is available and can decrease the risk of contracting the disease. However, it only works for hepatitis B and will not decrease the risk of HIV or other bloodborne pathogens.

The prophylaxis involves a single dose of hepatitis B immunoglobulin. This is an injection that contains human antibodies to the disease. After that, three injections of hepatitis B vaccine are given over the course of a few months.

If you or another health worker have been exposed to a needlestick injury, it’s important to report it immediately. You should get the hepatitis B post exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours. The earlier you get it, the more effective it is. Your workplace may have it in stock, otherwise go to the hospital emergency room. After the prophylaxis injections you’ll have repeated tests for the virus at six weeks, twelve weeks and six months after exposure.

Don’t hesitate if you receive a needlestick injury- your health depends on early prophylaxis.tricity.