What Is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis

Hepatitis B, a virus that can cause severe illness, liver damage, and even death, affects over one million Americans; many of these people display no symptoms and are unaware that they are carriers, which can lead to them unknowingly spreading the virus.

While there are measures many can follow to prevent the spread of Hepatitis B, there is one group that requires others to keep them safe – newborns.

There are a variety of ways Hepatitis B can be spread. They include: having unprotected sex, sharing needles, body piercing & tattoos, or using a carrier’s toothbrush or razor, but one of the most common ways to spread the virus is from mother to baby at birth.

Through proper pre-natal care, babies can be protected from getting infected.   During their initial prenatal visit, mothers should receive a series of routine blood tests, including tests to check for Hepatitis B. If you test positive, your doctor can take special precautions at the time of delivery to treat your baby immediately after birth, which would most likely prevent infection.

Within 12 hours after you give birth, your doctor will give your baby a shot of Hepatitis B antibodies and an initial shot of the Hepatitis B vaccine. That should be adequate short-term protection from hepatitis B. Together, the antibodies and the vaccine are about 85 to 95 percent effective at preventing hepatitis B infection in babies. The second and third vaccines doses should be administered at regular well-baby check-ups. All three doses are necessary for life-long protection against Hepatitis B.

If you are pregnancy, make sure your doctor tests you for Hepatitis B. If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Women’s Health Center has expert doctors who can guide you through your entire pregnancy. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-8993.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Flu Vaccine

Caution - Flu Season Ahead

Influenza – the unwelcome guest that comes calling on us every year – often with many very unpleasant consequences. Historically, widespread flu epidemics have had devastating effects on large portions of the earth’s population. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that two scientists, Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Thomas Francis developed the first vaccine to prevent the flu virus. The vaccine was given to American soldiers during World War II and was found to be useful in preventing the widespread outbreaks that had been common before the vaccines were used. In the years after the war, the vaccine was made available to the general public and has greatly reduced the widespread epidemics that were so common before. Research has helped to develop better vaccines with fewer side effects and also better suited to combat strains of the influenza virus that keep changing every year. Over the past 60 years millions of people have been given the flu vaccine each year. There is still a debate going on as to whether the flu vaccine is safe. Many people still are hesitant about getting the vaccine at all. The flu still comes calling every year, and many people are still being affected. However there are much fewer catastrophic epidemics throughout the world, and symptoms appear to be lessened, thanks in large part to the work done by Dr Salk and Dr. Francis in the early part of the last century.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

HPV Fast Facts

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Every year there are 14 million new HPV infections. HPV also known as human papillomavirus is a virus that can cause certain cancers and diseases in both men and women. Unfortunately, because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people who have the virus are unaware.

HPV is transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems such as genital warts and cancer.

  • Genital warts- usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.
  • Cervical cancer- usually does not have symptoms until it is quite advanced, very serious and hard to treat.

Some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented with vaccines. The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. For more information about preventing and treating HPV please visit: http://www.hpv.com/what-is-hpv/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.