Tuberculosis is a contagious condition that affects the lungs. It can also spread to other parts like the kidney, brain and spinal cord. Tuberculosis spreads through air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis can be either active or latent:
- ActiveTB: it usually occurs in the first few weeks after being infected. This condition makes you ill and can spread easily to others.
- Latent TB: also called inactive TB. In this condition, you are infected but the bacteria remains in an inactive state and causes no symptoms but there are also chances for it to become active and hence, treatment is required in latent TB also.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria called the mycobacterium tuberculosis. It spreads through microscopic droplets released into the air.
Symptoms of active tuberculosis includes:
- Persistent coughing
- Cough that lasts for three weeks and more
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Pain while coughing or even breathing
- Fever and/or chills
- Unintentional weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
Diagnosis of tuberculosis includes:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Skin tests
- Blood tests
- Sputum tests
- Imaging tests
- Chest X-ray
- CT Scan
Vaccinations are used in infants to prevent the condition. Preventive measure for tuberculosis involves avoiding close contact with an affected person. If you are already affected, you can stop the disease from spreading to others by the following steps:
- Cover your mouth, especially while sneezing and coughing.
- Wear a mask when you are around people.
- It is always better to stay home.
- Ventilate your room properly.
Medication is the major treatment option for tuberculosis. As it is a bacterial infection, there are many common antibiotics used in the treatment. It is crucial to complete the full course of medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
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