What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an airborne disease that affects the lungs causing respiratory problems. It is both curable and preventable.
A lot of cases of TB are arising due to HIV co-infection.
Cause of Tuberculosis
This is a disease of the lungs caused by infection with a bacteria known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.
It can also affect other body parts such as the brain or the spine.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis
- night sweats,
- malaise: tiredness, weakness, etc.
- loss of appetite
- loss of weight
- cough, sometimes with blood.
Those at high risk for TB also include:
- Drug Users/Abuse: People who use illicit drugs.
- Overcrowded Areas: people who live in areas where vulnerable people gather (e.g. prisons and homeless shelters, like IDP camps across Nigeria).
- Persons, especially children & the elderly in close contact with high-risk patients.
- Health care providers like doctors & nurses.
- Chronic lung disease is another significant risk factor. eg Silicosis increases the risk about 30-fold.
- Cigarette smoking can double the chances of developing TB infection.
- Alcoholism and Diabetes mellitus decrease your immunity, thereby increasing your risk of having the disease.
Treatment of TB
Anyone having any of the above symptoms should visit the hospital immediately & see a doctor. Samples would be taken to rule out pneumonia & confirm tuberculosis.
Your doctor would place you a number of drugs, about 4 (Rifampicin, Isoniazid, Pyrazinamide & Ethambutol or Streptomycin), with dosages & how long you would take it.
Treatment for TB usually can last anytime from 6 months to 2 years depending on the extent of the disease & damage done by the disease.
You should continue to take your drugs as directed by your doctor, mostly under the supervision of the doctor.
How is Tuberculosis Transmitted
It is a very contagious disease that is transmitted through air droplets. That is, if someone who has tuberculosis coughs near you, you can also carry it.
Prevention of Tuberculosis
Vaccination: This is usually provided at birth. It is usually the first vaccine given to a child immediately after birth, as soon as possible, according to the NPI schedule. We encourage mothers to ensure their children are properly vaccinated in order to prevent all these diseases. Remember that Vaccination is free at any government health facility.
Let’s continue to share the awareness!!