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Hepatitis B: How to Avoid Spreading the Virus

Topic Overview

The following tips can help you prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

  • Inform the people you live with and/or have sex with about your illness as soon as possible. If you have long-term (chronic) HBV infection, you can infect others with the virus even if you have no symptoms of illness.
  • Do not donate blood or blood products, organs, semen, or eggs (ova).
  • Stop all sexual activity or use latex condoms until your doctor has told you that you can no longer give hepatitis B to others. People with chronic HBV infection should always use condoms during any sexual activity.
  • Do not share your personal toiletry articles, such as razors, toothbrushes, towels, or nail files, with anyone else.
  • Try to minimize chapped skin by using a moisturizer. Chapping can lead to breaks in the skin, which can expose others to your blood.
  • Advise your doctor, dentist, and anyone else who may come in contact with your blood about your illness.
  • If you are pregnant, tell the health professional who will deliver your baby about your illness. Be sure your baby gets hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) and the first shot of the hepatitis B vaccination series within 12 hours after birth. Make sure your baby gets the rest of the hepatitis B vaccine shots on schedule.
  • Children who have hepatitis B should be taught not to bite or scratch others.
  • Clean or carefully dispose of your clothing or other articles that become soiled with your blood.
  • Clean toilet seats, countertops, floors, and other surfaces that have your blood or any other body fluid (semen and vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood) on them with a solution of bleach and water. To dilute household bleach, follow the directions on the label.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
W. Thomas London MD - Hepatology

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