Most people who get infected with hepatitis B as an adult will have a short term (acute) illness, and their body will get rid of the virus naturally.
Symptoms of acute hepatitis B infection may be flu-like symptoms, muscle aches and pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice (yellowish discolouration of the skin and eyes), however many people will have no symptoms at all and not know that they have the infection.
Similarly, people with chronic hepatitis B often experience no symptoms at all. Most people with chronic hepatitis B have had the infection since birth or early childhood, and might not know that the symptoms they experience are abnormal in any way. Symptoms vary in their severity and intensity over time.
Some of the symptoms that people with chronic hepatitis B may experience include:
- Flu like symptoms: chills and fevers
- Joint and muscle pain
- Tiredness and irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort and/or pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaundice (yellowish discolouration of the skin and eyes)
In addition, the symptoms of hepatitis B may mask the symptoms of other emerging health problems. If you feel you are at risk of hepatitis B, speak to a doctor about testing and vaccination against hepatitis B.