If you have been coughing for more than three weeks, you should get tested for tuberculosis. This is a disease that comes from mycobacterium which affects the lungs. It is a contagious disease that you can contract from the air without your knowledge.
This airborne particles get into the lungs of a person exposed to them and start attacking your respiratory system. Millions of the American population live with the inactive form of this disease. Understanding how TB is spread can keep you safe from contracting it. That forms the basis of our discussion today. Read on!
What are the symptoms of TB?
Tuberculosis infection is divided into two forms namely active and latent. Latent TB occurs when the bacteria stays in the body of an individual in a state that is not active. This cannot be spread and does not cause symptoms. You can also get active TB which is contagious has symptoms.
The symptoms of this disease are often confused with flu-like symptoms. One may experience fatigue, fever, the loss of appetite, night sweats and weight loss. These symptoms can differ depending on the body part which is affected by TB. It can be the lungs or in the kidneys. TB in kidneys leads to backache.
How can you prevent yourself from contracting TB?
Adjust your lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can prevent you from getting the TB virus. Maintain a balanced diet as you eliminate unhealthy ones like processed foods and refined sugar. Take a lot of vegetables and fruits to boost your immune system. Whole grains, as well as lean meat, are healthy sources to add to your diet.
Add exercises into your routine and remain consistent to keep such diseases at bay. Cardiovascular activities like swimming and running are healthy for your body. Reduce your intake of alcohol as you avoid abusing drugs. Get enough rest every day and maintain proper hygiene. Spend most of your time outdoors where there is enough circulation of air.
Know when you at risk
Some of the groups that at risk include people who have a weak immune system or are suffering from conditions such as AIDS. Those living in areas that are confined such as prisons or nursing homes are also at risk.
Opiate abuse or taking other forms of drugs also increase your chances of contracting such respiratory infections. Health workers can also get this infection. You can invest in a respirator if you spend a lot of time in hospitals to keep you safe from TB bacteria.
BCG vaccination is important in preventing TB. This is most common in children, but you can also get it as an adult if you intend to travel to an area with high TB cases. You can even get vaccinated if you work in a hospital where you may be exposed to the virus that causes the disease.
Stay away from infected people
TB spreads by getting into contact with affected people. Avoid spending time with people who are sick especially in areas that are properly ventilated. You may be working in a care facility where such patients have to visit. In this case, use protective gear such as face masks to prevent you from contracting the bacteria that causes TB.
Visit the doctor if you suspect exposure to TB
The high number of people living with inactive TB is wanting. That is why you should you see a doctor if you are exposed to such individuals. A skin test is done to confirm the virus where a doctor injects a protein solution to evaluate the skin reaction. They can also test your sputum or get an x-ray of the chest if you have symptoms such as excessive coughing.
Start your treatment immediately
It is important to start treating any form of TB without delay. For latent TB, you need to take antibiotics that prevent it from becoming active. The doctor may prescribe isoniazid or rifampin which should last for a couple of months.
In the case of active TB, you can take ethambutol and pyrazinamide for at least six months. Follow the dosage carefully and take the drugs according to the prescription. Skipping TB drugs can worsen the symptoms, therefore, take them religiously.
Beware that these form of treatment can come with side effects such as dizziness, skin rashes or flu. Some people also get jaundice from taking TB drugs. In this case, discontinue use and inform your doctor to change the medication.
Remain at home
You can avoid spreading the infection by taking leave from school or work and spending more time at home. You may need to stay isolated for a while from other family members. Do not entertain a lot of visitors at home when you have TB. Avoid using public transport if you can afford private means. You should also get natural light from the sun which can kill TB bacteria.
TB virus can spread fast in spaces that do not have a proper circulation of air. Contaminated air can get out through the windows to provide room for fresh air. You can also make use of a fan to boost the ventilation of air. Do not share a bedroom with anyone to keep them safe from contracting the disease.
Cover the mouth when coughing
Whether you are experiencing mild or severe symptoms of TB, you should always ensure that you use handkerchiefs to cover the mouth when you are sneezing. Wash the hands regularly after sneezing. You can also use a face mask to avoid uncontrollable coughs and reduce the spreading of the germs. A face mask captures the wet particles near your mouth so that the bacteria does not find its way into the environment. You can reuse these masks as long as you keep them clean and sterilized.
Statistics reveal that tuberculosis infects more than 9 million people every year. You can prevent yourself from this disease using the techniques above. Take the necessary precautions if you are affected to prevent the spread of the disease.