Tuberculosis, commonly abbreviated as TB, is a disease than can infiltrate the lungs and entire body.
It is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which spreads when a person who has TB coughs, sneezes, or is in close proximity with someone else. The symptoms of this disease can be incredibly uncomfortable and disrupt your everyday life. That is why it is essential to recognize the signs and work toward preventing contracting TB.
How Do You Know if You Have TB?
TB can often be challenging to detect because it has many symptoms in common with the cold, laryngitis, and other ailments. Some of the first symptoms that will set on in a person who has contracted TB are as follows:
- weight loss
- muscle weakness
- fatigue and exhaustion
- a relatively low fever
- night sweats
- a cough
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
If you are experiencing these symptoms, especially if they last an extended period of time, you should consult with a doctor. Active tuberculosis is highly contagious and can result in severe infection, so it needs to be treated immediately. TB is most commonly treated with medical drugs, including Rifadin and Rimactane; however, certain people may develop a drug-resistant strain. If this is the case, their TB will be treated with a combination of multiple medications.
TB prevention is a much safer and more reliable option than TB treatment. Taking steps to prevent TB can save you from developing an infection that could be relatively dangerous and cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Here are a few of the best tips for preventing TB, accompanied by their explanations:
- The most important thing you can do for prevention is to avoid exposing yourself to other people who have active TB. If you have tested positive for latent TB, you should be exceptionally aware of this as it can make you even more susceptible.
- Get the Bacille-Calmette-Guerin vaccine. This vaccine can help prevent TB and is especially useful for children to reduce the risk of contracting TB. If you are in healthcare or about to travel to another country, it is also recommended to get this vaccine, as your exposure risk will be much higher.
- Understand if you are more at risk because of your habits. If you have a generally weaker immune system or have HIV or AIDs, you are more likely to develop TB. The same applies to those who are born with latent TB, and those who abuse drugs and alcohol.
One of the most important things that you can do for yourself is to take care of your body. By maintaining generally good wellness, following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting the proper amount of sleep, you are already reducing your chances of contracting an illness. These habits will help you build up your immune system as much as possible. They will not only help prevent TB but also give you the tools to fight TB if you do happen to contract it.