Biology

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is contagious infection that negatively affects lungs. Bacteria causing this disease are called by experts as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease may also spread to various other parts of the body, for example, the spine and brain. Moreover, these bacteria most often impact the lungs.

Also, tuberculosis preacutions and treatment is possible happen. The spread of TB can take place from one person to another via the air. When people with lung TB spit, sneeze, or cough, they propel the harmful bacteria into the air. Also, a person may be infected by inhaling only a few of these germs. This disease is widespread in the world as 25% of the world’s population suffers from it. Merely being infected with bacteria does not that a person will show tuberculosis symptoms.

tuberculosis

What is Tuberculosis ?

Tuberculosis is a potentially serious infectious lung illness or disease. Furthermore, the bacteria of this disease mainly affect the lungs. Moreover, these bacteria can spread from one person to another via tiny droplets via coughs and sneezes.

The increase of TB infection began to occur in 1985. Furthermore, the emergence of HIV has also caused an increase. This is because HIV weakens a person’s immune system, so it is not able to fight TB germs effectively.

Many TB strains are able to resist the drugs that doctors use for tuberculosis treatment. Furthermore, active TB patients have to take various types of medications for several. This is necessary to get rid of this illness or disease.

Tuberculosis Symptoms 

There are no tuberculosis symptoms for latent TB patients. However, active TB cases certainly show symptoms. Below are the active tuberculosis symptoms:

A cough that lasts for a period of more than 3 weeks

  • Night sweats
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • A feeling of tiredness all the time
  • Experiencing chills
  • Experiencing fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Experiencing significant weight loss

How do you get Tuberculosis ?

The cause of tuberculosis is bacteria whose spreading takes place from person to person via droplets. Furthermore, these droplets are released into the air when such people cough, sneeze, spit, sing, laughs, or shout.

In spite of the disease being contagious, catching it is not easy. Furthermore, people are most likely to catch this disease with those with who they spent the most time. As such, it is difficult to catch this disease from a stranger.

Since the 1980s, an increase in tuberculosis cases has taken place dramatically due to the spread of HIV. HIV makes it difficult for the body to control or eliminate the TB bacteria.

Drug-resistant TB

What makes TB bacteria a really deadly disease due to the presence of drug-resistant strains. Some TB germs over the course of time have developed the ability to resist medications. The reason for this is because people don’t take medications as per the directions.

The emergence of drug-resistant strains of TB takes place when an antibiotic is unable to kill all of the bacteria. Consequently, the bacteria that survive develop resistance to that drug. Moreover, some bacteria are resistant to common treatments like rifampin and isoniazid.

The development of resistance to drugs has taken place by some strains. Such antibiotics are called fluoroquinolones, and injectable medications are like capreomycin or amikacin. Moreover, the use of such medications most takes place for tuberculosis treatment.

Tuberculosis Precautions

Below are the various tuberculosis precaution tips to protect the friends and family of the TB patient:

Stay home: Avoid going to school or work.  Furthermore, avoid sleeping or spending much time in a room with others.

Ventilate the room: The germs of TB tend to spread more easily in a closed room. So, make sure to open windows as much as possible to allow proper ventilation.

Cover your mouth: Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing to cover your mouth. Furthermore, make sure to dispose of the tissue after use.

Wear a face mask: Make sure to wear a face mask when spending time with others. Furthermore, you must wear a mask for the first three weeks of the treatment.

Finish your medication

Finishing the medication course is another important preventive measure.  Leaving medication courses in-between may not eliminate the TB germs. Moreover, by stopping the treatment early or skipping doses, TB bacteria may mutate to become even more dangerous.

Tuberculosis Treatment

For latent TB patients, the recommendation is to use medication. This is for those who are at a high risk of forming active TB.

For active TB, the antibiotics treatment must continue for a minimum of six to nine months. The type of drugs and the exact duration of the treatment depend on several factors. Such factors are drug resistance of the germs, age of the patient, and the patient’s overall health.

If you have latent tuberculosis, the recommendation is to use only one or two types of TB drugs. Active tuberculosis will require several drugs at once. The most common medications used for tuberculosis treatment are below:

  • Isoniazid
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Rifampin
  • Ethambutol

For a drug-resistant TB, the requirement is a combination of antibiotics. Experts call such antibiotics as fluoroquinolones and injectable medications for 20 to 30 months.

Some drugs that may be used to counter drug resistance are below:

  • Bedaquiline
  • Linezolid

FAQs on Tuberculosis

Question 1: How does the diagnosis of tuberculosis takes place?

Answer 1: The diagnosis  can take place in the following ways:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests, for example, chest X-ray or the CT scan
  • Sputum tests after taking samples of sputum

Question 2: Are there any side effects of tuberculosis drugs?

Answer 2: Serious side effects of the drugs of TB are not common. However, if they do occur; they can be dangerous. Moreover, all TB medications can prove poisonous or toxic to the liver.

Visit a doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of drugs:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Darkening of urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Blurred vision

Question 3: When should you see a doctor for tuberculosis?

Answer 3: You must pay a visit to your doctor if you suffer from certain symptoms like drenching night sweats fever, unexplained weight loss, or a persistent cough. These are often indications of the disease of TB.  Also, see your doctor if you think you have in contact with TB patient.

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