In many cases, acute hepatitis B infections fully resolve without any treatment. The risk of developing into a chronic infection varies with age. There is an 80-90% chance of chronic infection occurring in infants infected within their first year of life, and a 30-50% chance for children infected before the age of six years. The chance of a chronic infection in adults is much lower, as less than 5% of infected adults develop chronic infections, assuming there are no other health complications.
Although there are no specific treatments for acute hepatitis B infection, you should still consult with a healthcare provider if you test positive for hepatitis B. Maintenance of an adequate nutritional and fluid intake is important, particularly as additional fluids may be lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Unnecessary medications should be avoided, including acetaminophen, as it can accelerate the liver damage.
The best way to avoid a hepatitis B infection is through vaccination. The vaccine induces protective antibody levels in more than 95% of individuals, with protection lasting for at least 20 years and probably lifelong. World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations are for hepatitis B vaccination in all children and adolescents younger than 18 years of age, as well as unvaccinated individuals in high-risk groups, such as injectable drug users and healthcare workers who may be exposed.