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Hepatitis B Symptoms
Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, Mar. 28, 2017
How would I know if I have hepatitis B?
You can have hepatitis B and not know it. The virus can be detected with a blood test that
looks for antibodies or antigens to the virus. The test can diagnose if you have an acute or
early infection or if you have been living with hepatitis B for a long time, otherwise known as
chronic hepatitis B. The test can also determine if you are immune to hepatitis B because
you've had a vaccination.
People with acute hepatitis B who do show signs usually feel like they have the flu.
Flu-like symptoms for acute hepatitis B may show up 6 weeks to 6 months after being infected.
The average incubation period (time it takes for signs of infection to show) for the virus is 3
months. Flu-like symptoms may include feeling tired, a lack of hunger, vomiting, belly aches,
itchiness, feverish, muscle and joint pain.Jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes) and dark urine
are other signs of liver problems from acute hepatitis B.
What are the symptoms of chronic hepatitis B?
Most people with chronic hepatitis B can live without feeling anything at all for 10, 20, 30
years. Over time, about 1 in 4 people living with chronic hepatitis B will develop very serious
liver problems, including cancer.