Winter has become synonymous with cold, fever, and of course the flu. The current flu season is seeing a high number of young people getting the flu and many dying from it. Getting vaccinated has become imperative to protect oneself from getting the flu but also from spreading it. Vaccinations in general have become the main way to fight many preventable diseases. One such vaccine preventable disease is hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that can either be short term or for life. Hepatitis B causes damage to the liver, leading to scarring, cancer or failure. But this can be prevented with the hepatitis B vaccine, which consists of 2-4 shots depending on age. Anyone can get hepatitis B, but there are certain groups that are more susceptible or at a higher risk. Asia, Pacific Islands, and Africa are high risk areas, having majority of the chronic hepatitis B infections. Infants and children are also susceptible to chronic infections, with 90% of infants and 50% of children infected, developing chronic hepatitis B. This makes it important for pregnant mothers to be screened and infants to be vaccinated hours within birth.
Around 1.2 million have chronic hepatitis B in America, with more than 50% being Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Populations who should get screening are anyone born in Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, anyone born in the US but has not been vaccinated, anyone with a parent born in a high risk area, and pregnant women.
Asian Human Services ( AHS ) is dedicated in bringing awareness on hepatitis B and knowledge on how to prevent it through workshops and outreach. Hepatitis B can be prevented through screening and vaccinations. We are currently implementing educational workshops on hepatitis B, and we have informational material on hepatitis B, and pregnancy and hepatitis B available in different languages.
Contact: www.ahschicago.org, 4753, N. Broadway, Suite 700, Chicago, 773-293-8441 .