Identifying and treating TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria (germs) which enter the body through the air and damages the lungs. It is a serious but treatable disease.

There are many myths surrounding TB. Some people believe that you only get TB if you are poor or are an alcoholic. This is not true. Anyone can get TB, of any race, age, gender, background or upbringing. People’s tolerance towards TB varies as it all depends on how well you body fights disease.

When a person contracted with TB coughs, sneezes or spits the TB germs go into the air. Anyone who breathes in this air could be infected and develop TB.

To fight TB it’s important to:

1. Take regular treatment and medication from your local clinic

2. Eat a healthy balanced diet, drink lots of water and have plenty of rest

3. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke

4. Test for HIV

Signs and symptoms:

1.A persistent cough
2. Loss of appetite and weight loss
3. Night sweats and fever
4. Tiredness, fatigue and weakness
5. Coughing up blood
6. Becoming short of breath
7. Pains in the chest.

If you think you may have TB go to the clinic straight away. At the clinic, the healthcare worker will ask you to cough up sputum and spit it into a small bottle.

The sputum will be examined in the laboratory and if TB germs are found the person infected with TB will have to start treatment. If you have TB, it’s important that you encourage the people that you live with should also be checked.

TB is treated and cured by taking a combination of tablets for a period of six months or more. It is important to take your medicines as your health care worker tells you to and to go for regular check-ups.

If you are HIV-positive, HIV attacks the body’s immune system and you get sick more easily. One of the most common diseases that you can get is TB. It is important that if you have HIV you are screened for TB and that if you have TB you are tested for HIV so that you can get the right treatment.

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