There are only a few antiviral treatments for hepatitis B and the success rate for treatment is not good. The side effects of the treatments are common and debilitating and, for some of the treatments, there is a risk that the symptoms will become worse after the antiviral medicine is stopped. This is clearly a disease that is better to prevent than to get.
As for the seriousness of the infection, that depends on the age at which your child catches the disease. Children who are exposed at birth have a
90 percent chance of becoming chronic carriers. These are the children who have the highest risk of developing liver cancer or liver failure when they become young adults. In comparison, adults only have a 10 percent chance of becoming a chronic carrier. Older children have a lower risk of becoming a chronic carrier than newborns but a higher risk than adults.