What do you sense when you hear the term “Tuberculosis”? A lung disease that is deadly or one of the scariest diseases to have in the lungs. These are some general terms that people come across as they hear about TB. World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24th March of every year to mark the importance and raise awareness about this contagious disease. Tuberculosis also has many myths attached to it that further worsens the situation. People have misconceptions about its treatment and type of infection etc. So, one the occasion of World TB Day 2022, let us bust these myths together.
8 Common Myths Around Tuberculosis
1. TB is hereditary disease
Tuberculosis is not at all related to genetic or hereditary factors. There is utmost no link between these two conditions and it is unlikely that it can get transferred in families. A person who is suffering from tuberculosis is infected because of bacterial infection that might be present from surrounding factors rather than family.
2. You can get TB with person coming in close proximity
This needs to be understood very promptly that a person having tuberculosis can infect another person by coughing, sneezing etc. But this is not that simple, until the droplets reach you, there is almost negligible chances that you might suffer from tuberculosis. TB is a contagious disease but this does not mean that you keep the infected person isolated.
3. There is just one type of TB
No, there are actually two types of tuberculosis disease, Pulmonary TB and Extrapulmonary TB. Pulmonary TB is the common type of bacterial infection that happens to majority of people infected with this disease whereas the extrapulmonary TB is very severe form and infects other parts of the body as well. Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis can affect your brain, muscles, bones and lymph nodes. In the condition where the bacteria infect other organs as well, then it is called extrapulmonary TB.
4. Tuberculosis cannot develop again
Many people believe that once you have TB, then it is less likely that you would develop it again. This is a myth, with TB, there is always the risk of infection that it can occur again. However, if the treatment has been done efficiently, then the chances of catching TB become slightly less. But because of its contagious nature, there is never the probability of getting it out of your list.
5. TB can be determined easily
Unfortunately, no, there are not many evident symptoms in tuberculosis that can let you know that you are infected with this disease. The symptoms are as usual as any other lung infection and other issues. Ensure that you get proper treatment and diagnosis even if you feel you have slightest of symptoms to avoid any adversities. Some differentiating symptoms are sudden weight loss, night sweat, constant cough with blood in cough and loss of appetite.
6. Smoking leads to TB
No, not exactly, even though smoking is highly risky for tuberculosis as it increases the risk of getting this bacterial infection, it cannot be considered as a leading cause. Tuberculosis is spread through contagious air, and thus it causes respiratory infection. Also, the risk of infection increases with smoking, but is not exactly caused by it.
7. TB is Preventable
Well, this is partially true, the reason for this is that tuberculosis vaccine is available that can prevent you from TB, but not the whole population is vaccinated. Take it this way, that the unvaccinated people are at higher risk of having TB infection and vaccine is just a preventive measure that can save you from severe infection and death. It can although surely help babies from getting serious infections.
8. There is no Cure for Tuberculosis
It is a popular belief and a common myth that tuberculosis cannot be cured. It is a false statement; patients of pulmonary TB can be cured and the rate of infection can be reduced with the help of full course treatment. One thing that is important to consider is that there should not be any hinderance in the treatment process to be effective. Early stages of TB patients are usually treated successfully with a very low mortality rate.
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