TB is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The TB bacilli are transmitted from person to person through airborne particles i.e. when people infected with the bacilli cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs into the air. When you inhale the bacilli, you get infected. Inhaling a small number of the bacilli can cause the infection and lead to the disease.
Tips to prevent Tuberculosis
- Vaccination: Vaccination with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine in children can prevent severe tuberculosis in children. It is given in countries where TB is common. Vaccination with BCG vaccine isn't recommended for general use in countries such as United States as the vaccine is not effective in preventing TB in adults and can cause a false-positive result on a TB skin test. Currently, research is being done to develop a more effective TB vaccine.
- Be healthy: Infection with TB bacilli does not lead to disease in everyone. People, who are not healthy or have weak immune, are more likely to develop the disease than others, who are healthy. You can boost your immunity by following a healthy life style such as eating healthy, doing regular exercise, avoiding smoking etc.
- Avoid contact with infected person: A person with active TB is infective. They become non-infective after a few weeks of treatment. Avoid close contact with a person, who is diagnosed with TB, until he or she becomes non-infective.
Tips to prevent spread of infection
If you are diagnosed with TB and are on treatment, follow the following to prevent the spread of infection to others.
- Stay at home: A few weeks are needed after start of treatment to become non-infective. During this period, don't go to work or school or sleep in a room with other people. Consult your doctor to know the time needed to become non-infective.
- Ventilate the room: Mycobacterium tuberculosis spreads more easily in small closed spaces or rooms that are not well ventilated. Keep the windows open and use a fan to keep the room ventilated.
- Cover your mouth: When you laugh, sneeze or cough, use tissue paper to cover your mouth. The dirty tissue should be put in a bag and sealed before disposing it off in a dust bin.
- Wear a mask: Wear a surgical mask to prevent the spread of germ when you're around other people during the first three weeks of treatment. This can reduce the spread of infection.
- Take your medications: Taking medications as recommended makes you non-infective in a few weeks. It not only prevents others from getting infected but also stops the progression of disease and cures you.
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