TB also known as tuberculosis is caused by the invading of a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tb can affect any part of your body like the pancreas, kidney, spine, or brain. It normally affects the lungs. Lung invasion is the most fatal one.
How it spreads
It spreads through the air. If you inhale the air exhaled by a TB patient, you are likely to get TB usually through coughing, speaking, or singing. That’s why it’s advised to cover your nose properly before encountering a TB patient.
But this doesn’t mean using their clothes, utensils, hugging them, sharing food, drinks, or kissing them will end up suffering. These are all myths. TB is only spread through the air so avoid airly contact with them.
Once this bacteria enters the body and settles in your lungs, it travels to other parts like the brain, spine, or kidney. Even though TB of other body parts is non- infectious. TB of the lungs is infectious and is fatal.
If you get to list the symptoms of TB, the list is endless.
- Bad cough persisting for more than 3 weeks
- Spitting blood sputum while coughing
- Pain while breathing
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
Symptoms of TB of different parts may depend on the part affected.
Types of TB-
Not every time TB makes you sick. That’s why TB is classified into two categories- latent TB and TB disease.
1. Latent TB disease
Once the bacteria enters the body, the immune system is active or strong enough to fight it. As a result, there are no symptoms and the bacteria remains inactive inside the body. It causes no harm to the body. These people can’t spread it to other people. If they don’t receive proper treatment, the inactive bacteria may cause harm.
2. TB disease
When the bacteria enter a weak immune body, the body can’t fight the invaded bacteria. As a result, it becomes infectious and causes harm to the parts of the body. These people possess high symptoms especially when they have a prior history of diseases like HIV- AIDS. They can spread it to other people.
BCG ( Bacille Calmette – Guerin) vaccine is given to TB patients. Although it’s not always protective against TB.
It’s given to infants and children in countries that are commonly struck with TB-related diseases.
There are two types of testing done. One is TB skin test( TST) and blood tests. Positive TST only tells us whether the person is suffering from TB and not its type. Furthermore, tests are conducted like chest X-rays and sputum tests to confirm it.
Before taking diagnosis, history is taken about encountering any TB patients in the past or not. If encountered, your chances of getting TB are high. If you’re from a country like South Africa or eastern Europe where TB spread is high, your chances are high. If you live or work in a work- setting like a homeless setting or nursing home, then also the case is the same as above.
TB is a fatal disease so it’s essential that you are treated properly and for that, you have to be regular with the medications prescribed by your doctor. Nitrosamines, rifampin, and rifapentine are the anti-tuberculosis medications available. These are the most basic ones and should be continued till any adverse effects are met.
If you get any side effects, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will then change your medications or prescribe new ones accordingly.