With winter weather comes illness. Most people are on the lookout for the flu or the common cold. Because of this, many often miss the common signs of Tuberculosis, thinking the cold has just brought on a case of the flu. Especially now, knowing the signs is more important than ever.
Recently, there was a TB outbreak at Wilson Central and the school had to be disinfected and air filters changed. Although only one student was infected, this was a very big deal considering most students were not vaccinated. Those who had come in contact with the student had to be tested for TB. Because MJHS is so close to Wilson Central, it is essential that we understand the symptoms and the dangers of TB.
There are two types of Tuberculosis: inactive and active. Inactive is when you have the bacteria in your body, but they remain dormant, causing no symptoms. This type is not contagious. Active is when you have the bacteria in your body and it causes symptoms, which makes it contagious to those around you.
TB is rare and serious disease, and although it is curable, this infection is one of the top 10 causes of deaths around the world, according to The World Health Organization. Even so, it is not prevalent in the United States, meaning that most people here do not have the vaccine. If someone visits another country and contracts TB, they could be putting everyone they come in contact with in danger when they return home.
Like former principal Mel Brown said, you don’t want to get the “heebie-jeebies,” so there are precautions you can always take to avoid this ghastly disease.
First, know what causes TB and the factors that can increase your chances of obtaining the disease.
Tuberculosis is an airborne disease, meaning you can contract TB when someone who is not treated coughs, spits, laughs, sings, sneezes, or speaks, according to The Mayo Clinic.
There are certain factors that can increase your risk, such as a weakened immune system, traveling and lack of medical care.
Next, recognizing when you have the disease is significant so you won’t infect another person. TB has similar symptoms to other diseases that are not deadly, so this is very important.
The symptoms are chills, loss of appetite, fever, fatigue, night sweats, coughing up blood and chest pain when breathing, according to The Mayo Clinic.
Once you notice you are developing symptoms of TB, go to your doctor. They will run tests and help provide treatment.
“For active tuberculosis, you must take antibiotics for at least six to nine months. The exact drugs and length of treatment depends on your age , overall health, possible drug resistance and the infection’s location in the body,” explained The Mayo clinic.
Although TB can be cured, it does take a long time to fully get rid of the pathogen, which makes treatment critical.