Tuberculosis (TB)

Women showing chest | Healthier Me TodayTuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that affects the lungs and respiratory system. This respiratory condition spreads through tiny droplets floating in the air after an infected person speaks or coughs. This disease starts with an infection. There are carriers with TB who show no symptoms, though. This is why, no matter if you have symptoms, you should always cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.

Tuberculosis is especially dangerous for individuals with an autoimmune disease as their bodies cannot fight the virus off and are susceptible to catching bacteria.

Causes of TB

This condition spreads like any other cold or flu. The ways that Tuberculosis spreads are:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Laughing
  • Talking loudly

Always cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and stay away from sick people if you have an autoimmune disease. TB is also not something you catch quickly, as it only occurs with direct contact over time as our bodies can fight it off naturally.

TB Related Symptoms

Not all people with this infection have symptoms. For active Tuberculosis, the symptoms may appear to be:

  • Coughing with blood or mucus
  • Strong cough lasting over three weeks old
  • Fever 
  • Night sweats and nightmares
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Diagnosing TB

If you suspect you have any of the following symptoms listed above, call to schedule an appointment for a doctor. In the meantime, you should Quarantine and stay away from others as Tuberculosis can worsen.

There are only two tests to determine if you have Tuberculosis. These two tests are a blood test and a skin test. During the blood test, your doctor will take a sample from your arm and see if there are any signs of TB. The other test is an uncommon skin test where doctors inject a small amount of tuberculin. If your arm swells at the spot of injection, you likely have Tuberculosis.

Treating TB

Tuberculosis does not go away on its own! Anyone who suspects they have this condition should go to their doctor as soon as possible to find out the next steps. If you do not receive treatment, you can cause serious harm through the development of Tuberculosis. Some doctors will prescribe you antibiotics to fight the disease. 

However, there are strains of TB that are immune to drugs. If you have an active strain that is drug immune, you will need a combination of Rifadin, Rimactane, and Isoniazid to treat it. It is unlikely that you will only use one medication as the infection is difficult to beat.

There are risks with these treatments, though. The risks or side effects are yellowing of the skin, nausea, digestive problems, and blurred vision. The medication works well but can still cause further problems. You must take your medication the way it was recommended and prescribed. If not, it will not be effective.

How Can I Prevent TB?

Preventing Tuberculosis is not always possible. Pregnant mothers with this infection, whether it is inactive or active, can pass it along to their children. For people who can prevent this condition, you should cover your nose and mouth when sneezing. You may be a carrier without knowing it.

Also, stay away from people if you are sick to not spread it. Once it spreads through the air with droplets, others can catch it.

If you are caring for someone with Tuberculosis, wear protection (mask, gloves, frequent hand washing). If you do not have to visit, then stay away, so you don’t catch it. While the majority of people do not react poorly, it is still a possibility. 

Babies can receive the Vaccination bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination against Tuberculosis. In the U.S, it is not used on adults as it is not effective for older children.


FAQ

  1. Is Tuberculosis Fatal? It can be! If Tuberculosis goes untreated, the condition can harm and damage your lungs permanently. Each year, there are approximately 1.4 million deaths attributed to Tuberculosis.
  2. How Long has Tuberculosis been around? Tuberculosis is one of the oldest diseases and infections that we know of. From what we can tell, it has been around since before the 1800s and may even date back to ancient Egypt.
  3. How does Tuberculosis spread? Tuberculosis spreads through the air as a bacterium. Infected people, when they sneeze, cough, or talk, repel saliva from their mounts that contain the Tuberculosis bacteria.

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!

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