How Infectious is Tuberculosis and How to Stay Safe?

How Infectious is Tuberculosis and How to Stay Safe

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It primarily affects the lungs but can also impact other parts of the body. TB is a serious health problem worldwide. To stay up to date keep checking

How is it Spread?

TB is spread through the air when someone with the active form of the disease coughs, sneezes, talks, or spits. When someone inhales the droplets containing TB bacteria, they can become infected. However, not everyone who is infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. In fact, most people who are infected with TB bacteria do not develop active TB disease.

Factors that increase the risk of developing active TB disease include having a weakened immune system (e.g., due to HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or certain medications), exposure to someone with active TB disease, and living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. TB is not spread through casual contact, such as shaking hands or sharing utensils.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of TB can vary depending on the part of the body affected, but typically include a persistent cough, chest pain, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. TB can be diagnosed through various tests, including a skin test, blood test, sputum test, and chest X-ray. Treatment for TB usually involves a combination of antibiotics taken for several months. It is important to complete the full course of treatment, even if symptoms improve, to prevent the development of drug-resistant TB.

How to Prevent it?

Preventing TB infection is key to controlling the spread of the disease. Here are some ways to stay safe:

Get vaccinated: There is a vaccine for TB called the BCG vaccine, which is recommended for people who are at high risk of developing TB, such as healthcare workers and people who live or work in settings where TB is common. However, the vaccine is not routinely given in the United States because it is not very effective at preventing the most common form of TB that occurs in this country.

Practice good respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of used tissues immediately. If you have TB or suspect you might have it, wear a mask to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Avoid close contact with people who have active TB: If you know someone who has active TB, try to avoid spending time in close proximity to them until they have been treated and are no longer contagious.

Maintain good hygiene: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after being in close proximity to someone who has TB. Keep your living and work spaces clean and well-ventilated.

Get tested: If you have been in close contact with someone who has active TB, or if you have symptoms of TB, get tested for the disease. Early detection and treatment can prevent the spread of TB to others and help you get better faster.

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