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Hepatitis B in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is inflammation of the liver caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The infection is called acute when a person first becomes infected. The infection becomes chronic after 6 months. Chronic hepatitis B is less common in children than in adults.

Abdominal Organs

How is HBV spread?

HBV can spread from a mother to her baby during delivery. A baby who gets infected with HBV during birth has a high risk for developing chronic hepatitis B. HBV also spreads through contact with infected blood or body fluids. HBV can enter your child's body through a cut or scratch in his or her skin or through mucus membranes. HBV can live on objects and surfaces for 7 days or longer.

What increases my child's risk for hepatitis B?

What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis B?

Your child may have no signs or symptoms and may not know he or she has been infected. Symptoms may not develop for 1 to 6 months after your child is infected with HBV. He or she may have any of the following:

How is hepatitis B diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about his or her signs and symptoms and any health problems he or she has. Tell the provider if your child has other infections, such as HIV or hepatitis C. Tell him or her if your adolescent drinks alcohol or uses any illegal drugs. These can harm the liver. The healthcare provider may also ask about your adolescent's sex partners. Your child may need any of the following tests:

How is hepatitis B treated?

Hepatitis B may last a short time and go away on its own without treatment. Your child's healthcare provider will monitor him or her closely for signs of liver disease. If needed, treatment may help improve your child's liver function and decrease symptoms. He or she may need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to manage hepatitis B?

What can I do to help prevent the spread of HBV?

What can I do to prevent the spread of germs?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.