Hepatitis B Vaccine
One of the vaccines given in schools is called the hepatitis B vaccine. The name “hepatitis” comes from the Greek word hêpar meaning "liver", so it is not surprising to learn that hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver. Hepatitis B can cause serious health problems like permanent liver damage, liver cancer, and even death.
The hepatitis B virus is spread when an infected person’s body fluids (usually blood) are shared with another person. Here are some examples of how this can happen:
- A poke with a dirty needle that was used for injecting drugs.
- Being splashed in the mouth, nose, or eyes with infected blood.
- Getting a body piercing or tattoo with a dirty needle.
- Sharing items that have blood on them such as a toothbrush, dental floss or razor.
- Though intimate sexual contact.
The hepatitis B virus is NOT spread by kissing, sneezing or coughing, or casual touch like hugging or holding hands. Hepatitis B is a sneaky virus. People can be infected with hepatitis B and not know it, but they can still spread the disease to others.
The best way to make sure you don’t get hepatitis B is to get the hepatitis B vaccine. In some places in Canada this vaccine is given to infants. In other places it’s given in either grade 4, 5, 6 or 7. If you got this vaccine when you were younger, you won’t need to get it again in school.
Watch the video to learn more about hepatitis B and how to prevent it. After watching the video, test your knowledge with the quiz and earn vaccines.