General Overview of Tuberculosis
Pulmonary T.B infects the lungs while Extrapulmonary T.B affects not only the lungs but other organs and parts of the body. An example of Extrapulmonary T.B is called Military T.B. Military T.B spreads rapidly through the bloodstream and can be very fatal.
How Is Tuberculosis Transmitted?
A person with other immue weaking illness have a higher risk of getting T.B than others do or if you were once infected before the age of 5 years old or within the last 2 years. If a person has HIV/AIDS their chance of catching T.B is slightly higher.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of T.B?
- Persistent cough for 3 weeks or more
- Constant fatigue
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or sputum (mucus from deep inside the lungs)
- Night sweats
- Chest pains
Diagnosis and Who Should Get Tested?
A positive skin test only tells if one has the bacteria. It does not mean that you have one of the forms of Tuberculosis. Tests like chest x-rays and a sample of sputum are needed to determine if a person has T.B disease.
Those who should look into getting tested for T.B disease are the following;
- Those who have spent time around a person with the disease
- People infected with HIV or other diseases that weaken the immune system
- People who have T.B symptoms
- Lived or visited a place where T.B is very common
- People who take/use illegal drugs
Is There a Way to Treat T.B?
- Latent T.B- prescribed treatment to prevent the disease from developing
- T.B Disease- Several medicines are prescribed for 6 to 9 months. It is very important that the infected person takes all of the medications because if they do no then they could become very sick again. If the person does not take the medications correctly then the bacteria could also possibly become immune to the medicines.
How to Prevent T.B?
- If you live with someone with T.B then wear face masks around them to prevent the intake of the airborne disease. Encourage them to get treatment.
- Do not spend long periods of time in an enclosed room with someone with the diseases unless they have been treated for over 2 weeks with the correct medications.