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Hepatitis B is a disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This virus attacks the liver. The disease can cause:
- Lifelong infection
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Liver cancer
- Liver failure
HBV is spread through the blood of an infected person.
It is estimated that 1 in 20 people in the US will get infected with HBV sometime during their life. Certain factors increase the risk of developing hepatitis B, including:
- Having sex with someone infected with HBV
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Injecting illegal drugs
- Having male homosexual sex
- Living in the same house as someone with chronic hepatitis B
- Coming in contact with human blood
- Working in the home of someone who is developmentally disabled
- Having hemophilia
- Traveling to...
What Are the Risks Associated With the Hepatitis B Vaccine?
All vaccines are capable of causing serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction.
Most people who get the hepatitis B vaccine do not have problems. Some may have mild problems, including soreness where the shot was given and fever.
Acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medicine may weaken the vaccine's effectiveness. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with the doctor.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
You should not get the vaccine if you:
- Had a life-threatening allergic reaction to baker's yeast or to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine
- Are moderately or severely ill—Wait until you...