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Tuberculosis? You could be affected! (Migyul Magazine, Vol.2, May 2004)


Dark = high; Medium = moderate; Light = none or low.
Source: Bradshaw Foundation.
Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Tuberculosis (CDC)

Advice on Avoiding Tuberculosis

Do not spend long periods of time in stuffy, enclosed rooms with anyone known to have active TB until that person has been treated for at least two weeks. Use protective measures, such as proper respirators, if you work in a place where people with untreated TB are cared for. Discuss with your health professional how to prevent TB from spreading to others if you live with someone who has active TB.

Help and encourage the person with TB to follow the treatment. Check out with your doctor for free treatments & health-care provided for the refugees by Federal Health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; that usually affects the lungs (Pulmonary TB), but can spread to other parts of the body (Extra-Pulmonary TB). It is generally airborne and spreads via droplet infection, hence very contagious! Extrapulmonary TB’s on the on the other side, don’t spread easily to others. Tuberculosis is classified into Latent or Active Types.

In latent TB, although the TB-causing bacteria are in your body, you cannot spread the infection to others. However, you are at risk for developing active TB if your immune system becomes weakened.
In active TB, however, the infection is spreading in your body and you can spread the disease to others too.

Symptoms

A person is generally asymptomatic while in latent stage, and all the following symptoms starts surfacing when the immune system weakens and the disease becomes active. Symptoms of Active TB may include:

  • A persistent cough that brings up thick, dirty, and sometimes bloody sputum from the lungs (not from the gums or mouth !).
  • Fatigue and Gradual weight loss.
  • Night sweats and Evening rise in Temperature.
  • Shortness of breath and occasional chest pain that may be worse when breathing in.
  • Rapid heartbeat.

Early Detection

Since TB can be spread to others around you, cases must be reported to the local or state Health Departments. All major health authorities — like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, recommend Tuberculin skin testing only for people who have a high risk of getting TB.

The CDC recommends TB testing for people who:

  • Have a HIV or another condition that puts them at risk for TB.
  • Live with a person who has active TB disease, which can be spread to others.
  • Inject illegal drugs. (Intravenous needle users)
  • Were born in parts of the world where tuberculosis is common, such as Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
  • Live or work in nursing homes, homeless shelters, migrant farm camps, prisons, or jails.

For any health-related issues and medical reference, please get in touch with us.You can email us at migyul@yahoo.com

CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you have:

SYMPTOMS (SUCH AS A PERSISTENT COUGH WITH FEVER, FATIGUE, AND WEIGHT LOSS) THAT COULD BE CAUSED BY TB, AND YOU THINK YOU MAY BE AT RISK FOR GETTING TB.

BEEN IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS UNTREATED ACTIVE TB, WHICH CAN BE SPREAD
TO OTHERS, OR YOU HAVE HAD LENGTHY CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE YOU THINK HAS UNTREATED ACTIVE TB.

BLURRED VISION OR COLOR BLINDNESS AND ARE TAKING ETHAMBUTOL DRUGS FOR TB. OR ANY OTHER NEW SYMPTOMS AFTER BEING PUT ON ANTITUBERCULAR DRUGS.

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS OF TB (A PERSISTENT COUGH WITH FEVER, FATIGUE, AND WEIGHT LOSS) OR IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH ACTIVE TB; WATCHFUL WAITING IS NOT AT ALL
APPROPRIATE. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BEFORE BEING TOO LATE!

Tests during TB treatment

Its very important to do sputum tests at least once a month to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment by prescribed drugs. A chest X-ray may be done at the end of treatment to use as a comparison in the future. So one should preserve the old X-rays, if any. Other tests may also be carried out to ascertain the TB medications are not causing damage to other parts of the body since the drugs do possess its own side effects like liver damage, diminution of eye sight, and hearing senses, etc.

Treatment

Generally a combination of four antibiotics to treat active TB, whether it occurs in the lungs or elsewhere. Medications for active TB must be taken for a minimum of 6 months; to be revaluated after that. Almost all people who take their medications piously as prescribed are cured. Latent TB usually is treated with one antibiotic for 9 months. This prevents the infection from developing into active disease and reduces the risk of complications. If doses of the medications are missed or the treatment is not completed, treatment will be extended or must be started all over again. Not completing the treatment can cause the infection to worsen or may lead to the development of an antibioticresistant infection that becomes much harder to treat. If left untreated, active TB can damage the lungs or other organs and can lead to death !

Prevention is better than cure

Usually, treatment with one antibiotic for about 9 months can prevent a latent TB infection from developing into active TB. Treatment is recommended for anyone who has a positive skin and is especially important for people who:

  • Are known to or are likely to be infected with HIV.
  • Have close contact with a person who has active TB.
  • Have a chest X-ray that may suggest a TB infection, and they have not had a complete course of treatment.
  • Inject illegal drugs.
  • Have a medical condition or take medications that cause them to have a weakened immune system..
  • Have had a tuberculin skin test within the past 2 years that was negative but now have a positive test.

Home treatment includes

Eating a balanced diet to provide your body with the nutrients that you need to fight the infection. If you need help, ask to talk with a registered dietitian. Covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Until you have been on antibiotics for about two weeks, you can easily spread the disease to others.

What you can do?

Home treatment for tuberculosis (TB) focuses on taking the prescribed medications correctly to
reduce the risk of developing multidrug resistant. Keep all your appointments, take your medications as prescribed, and report any side effects of the medications, especially vision problems. If you plan to move to other places during the time that you are being treated, let your health professional know so that arrangements can be made for you to continue the treatment unhindered.