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Tuberculosis Prevention


Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection which affects the lungs, is highly contagious and may even spread to other organs in the body. Therefore tuberculosis prevention and control are very important to stop this disease from spreading rapidly. If an infected person sneezes or coughs, it is very easy for another person to get infected by simply breathing in those infected air droplets. Tuberculosis remains inactive in most infected people but may become active again within a few weeks or months after the primary infection. People who at high risk of active tuberculosis infections include infants, elderly people and people who have weak immunity such as in the case of AIDS, diabetes and chemotherapy patients.
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The first step in pulmonary tuberculosis prevention is diagnosing the disease in time. Diagnosis can generally be made with the help of skin tests, x-rays and sputum examinations. There are two main techniques to skin testing: Mantoux or Heaf tests. These tests are carried out by injecting a tuberculin containing liquid under the skin in a person’s arm. The inoculation site is examined after 2-3 days to see if there has been a reaction to the injected tuberculin. If there is a raised bump at the inoculation site it indicates that the person has been exposed to tuberculosis infection. This test is extremely vital for mycobacterium tuberculosis prevention. Further x-ray examinations are carried out to confirm if active tuberculosis is present in the person’s body. Sputum tests on the other hand examine the mucus secretions from the lungs to check for active tuberculosis infection. Sputum tests are also done to identify pneumonia and other lung infections. Therefore tuberculosis symptoms prevention and treatment are extremely important to control the spread of this disease.

Many hospitals and healthcare clinics carry out regular tuberculosis prevention programs to spread awareness about this disease. One of the main steps in tuberculosis prevention and control is teaching people how to recognize the basic symptoms of this disease. Although primary tuberculosis is asymptomatic, pulmonary tuberculosis causes symptoms like cough filled with mucus, cough stained with blood, fever, fatigue, excess perspiration mainly at night and weight loss which is unintentional. Other symptoms could also include breathlessness, wheezing, chest pain, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and other parts and clubbed fingers or toes. Therefore tuberculosis prevention programs are very important so as to educate people about this disease. This will help people seek treatment at the earliest and avoid further spread of this infection. As a part of these pulmonary tuberculosis prevention programs, people are screened for latent tuberculosis infections and preventive treatments are also provided. The main aim of any tuberculosis treatment is to cure the infection with the help of drugs and medications which can fight the tuberculosis bacteria. Active pulmonary tuberculosis is generally treated with a combination of drugs to get better results. However it is the patient’s responsibility to take his medications on time to prevent the infection from becoming worse. Most hospitals and doctors prefer admitting patients to avoid spreading infection and also to monitor their drug intake. Disregarding mycobacterium tuberculosis prevention measures can also result in permanent lung damage and ultimately death. In most countries where tuberculosis cases are very common, BCG vaccinations are given to infants and adults as a part of tuberculosis prevention programs. By following the guidelines of tuberculosis prevention and control, this disease can be prevented and controlled even in people who have been exposed to this infection. Vaccinations, early detection and preventive therapies are therefore of prime importance in tuberculosis prevention and treatment. If you happen to notice any of the signs and symptoms in yourself or in a family member, it is advisable to bring it to the notice of your health care expert. Seeking immediate treatment is a must so as to be able to curb the spread of tuberculosis.

 

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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