Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB, is caused by the airborne bacterium called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It can affect different areas of the body, but mostly, it affects the lungs.
According to WHO, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death globally.
Let’s know about different types of TB
- Latent – In latent TB infection, people don’t feel any symptoms, because the bacteria live in an inactive form inside the body. Latent TB can’t be transmitted.
- Active – When the immune system gets weakened, latent TB can convert into active TB. Active TB can affect lung, as well as joints, bones or central nervous system. This is highly contagious.
How does TB spread?
TB spreads from one person to another, through the air. When someone with active TB of throat or lung coughs, sings, speaks or sneezes, they send germs into the air. And when you breathe in the same air, you are most likely to catch those germs and become infected.
Mostly, it is spread if you spend a lot of time with the infected person. You can get if a family member has it or if you are spending too much time with a friend who has active TB.
Common symptoms of TB
Cough, which lasts at least 3 weeks is one of the most widely known symptoms of TB. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the chest
- Mild fever
- Chills & sweating at night
Diagnosis and Treatment
TB can be diagnosed with a simple skin test, and can be cured with antibiotics.
How can you protect your family and friends if you have active TB?
- Don’t go out and mingle with people. Stay home till you don’t recover completely.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue while sneezing & coughing, and put the tissue in some plastic, and throw away.
- During the initial weeks of your treatment, wear a surgical mask while interacting with other people.
Studies reveal that approx. 5,00,000 Indians die every year of TB.
Let’s practice good hygiene like washing hands regularly and using a tissue while sneezing, etc. to change this statistics!