You get hepatitis B after blood, vaginal fluids, or semen infected with the hepatitis B virus enters your system. You can get hepatitis B doing the following things with someone who has the infection:
- Having condomless sex.
- Sharing unsterilized needles for tattoos, piercing, or drugs.
- Sharing razors, glucose monitors, and some other medical equipment.
- Getting a needlestick injury or come into contact with infected blood in another way.
- Coming in contact with open sores.
Mothers with hepatitis B can also pass the infection on to their babies during childbirth.
Activities That Don’t Pass on Hepatitis B
Many people worry about getting close to someone with hepatitis B. However, you cannot get hepatitis B from the following activities:
- Sharing food or beverages.
- Using the same eating utensils.
- Sharing a pool or hot tub.
- Kissing, hugging, or shaking or holding hands.
- Sneezing or coughing.
All donated blood undergoes thorough screening, so getting hepatitis B from a blood transfusion is incredibly rare.
Most people are vaccinated for hepatitis B when they are young, so they’re unlikely to get hepatitis B. If you’re concerned you might have been infected and aren’t vaccinated, reach out to your health care provider.