Are you vacationing in Mexico this summer? Studying abroad in Japan? Going on a mission trip to India? For any of these destinations (and many more), you’ll probably need to be vaccinated for both hepatitis A and B.
While hepatitis A and B are two very different diseases, there is one form of dual protection called Twinrix that could be the right choice for you.
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis means inflammation (“-itis”) of the liver (“hepar”). Basically, cells in your liver become enlarged and cause damage.
How are hepA and hepB different?
One of the biggest differences between hepatitis A and B is how they are contracted.
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)
It’s very likely that you were immunized for hepatitis B as a child or in your early teens, but the hepatitis A vaccine is typically only given to travelers. When people consume contaminated food or water, they might contract the hepatitis A virus. This often happens in Africa, Asia, Mexico and even parts of Europe. Find out if your destination is at risk for hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is considered to be the least severe form of the virus since it does not progress to a chronic condition and those infected usually make a full recovery. While the disease is less painful than hepatitis B, it often comes with flu-like symptoms and jaundice, which are never desirable…especially when traveling!
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
The hepatitis B Virus is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), spread by contact with infected blood, semen, saliva and some other body fluids. It is also possible for parents pass it on to their children. This strain of the virus can become chronic, though the majority of those who contract hepatitis B never move past the acute stage.
Not all cases of hepatitis show symptoms, so it’s possible to contract the HAV or HBV and pass it on without realizing it.
ProHealth and ProHealth Medical Care offer the combined Twinrix vaccine and individual immunizations for hepatitis A and B. If you’re not sure whether you’re immune to hepatitis B from childhood vaccinations, we can run a titer to find out.