TB or Tuberculosis is a universal common disease and mainly affects the lungs. Tuberculosis is spread through the air when an infected patient coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs or talks.
What causes Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is caused by a type of bacterium named Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.
A person is infected with Tuberculosis since microscopic droplets released by a patient with the untreated, active TB infection in their lungs into the air. More specifically, TB infections commonly spread among family members living in the same house.
Children with TB or adults with TB infected outside the lungs, which called Extrapulmonary TB do not spread the infections. It means that not everyone with TB is infectious. However, anyone can catch TB, and people who are the most at risk are:
– living in, coming from, or traveling to an area with high levels of TB
– in close contact with a person infected with TB for a long time
– living in crowded conditions
– with a condition or treatment that weakens their immune system, such as HIV or during chemotherapy and corticosteroid.
– too young or too old since the immune system is not strong enough to destroy the bacteria causing TB.
– in poor health or with a poor diet due to lifestyle and other problems, including drug misuse, alcohol misuse and homelessness.
How is TB treated?
Treating TB takes much longer than treating any kind of bacterial infections, which is particularly for at least six to nine months with antibiotics. The drugs and length of treatment, of course, depends on your age, overall health, possible drug resistance, which kind of TB you are infected with, as well as the infection’s location in your body.
If you are infected with Latent Tuberculosis, you may take only one type of TB drug. Active Tuberculosis, particularly a drug-resistant strain, will require several drugs simultaneously. After a few weeks of treatment, you won’t be contagious, and may begin to feel much better.
However, it is important to remember that you need to finish the full course of therapy and take the prescribed medications exactly, or the bacteria will turn to be resistant to the medication, resulting in that TB will become much more dangerous and really difficult to treat.
How to prevent TB?
Even when you test positive for latent TB infection, you may be advised to take medications to reduce your risk of developing active tuberculosis. If you can prevent your latent TB from turning into the active form, you won’t transmit Tuberculosis to anyone else, because only the active Tuberculosis, as it affects lungs, is contagious.
Finishing the entire course of medication is the most important thing to do. Do not stop or even skip any step of treatment to avoid supporting TB bacteria to become more deadly.
Vaccination is another way to help you to prevent TB. Children, especially infants, in several countries are vaccinated with Bacille Calmette-Guerin injections. However, with adults, it is not effective and may even adversely influence the results of skin testing diagnoses. That is the reason why it is not suggested for general use in the U.S.
You can minimize the risk of germs from reaching anyone else by some simple daily notice including avoiding other people by not going to school or work, or sleeping in the same room as someone. Wearing a mask, covering the mouth and ventilating rooms can also limit the spread of bacteria.
Even though Tuberculosis is one of the most dangerous diseases, most people with active TB who have had appropriate drug treatment for at least two weeks are no longer contagious.