Following are links to some basic information about important health issues facing today's families.




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Tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis, or TB as it is commonly known, is spread through the air from person to person. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, including the brain, kidney and spine. If caught early, tuberculosis can be cured.

Anyone can get TB just by breathing in the air from someone else who is infected as they cough, sneeze or laugh. However, some people are more at risk than others, including:

  • Infants and small children
  • People who are in close quarters with an infected person (friends, family members and coworkers, for instance)
  • Low income individuals who may live in crowded conditions, suffer from a lack of proper nutrition or have poor healthcare
  • Homeless people
  • Prisoners
  • Nursing home residents
  • Alcoholics and intravenous drug users
  • Those with other medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure or a weakened immune system

Common Symptoms

  • Feeling weak or ill
  • Rapid weight loss over a few weeks or months
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Symptoms can also include coughing, chest pain or coughing up blood

Testing for TB

A skin test can tell you if you have TB. Your doctor or the health department can administer it. If it comes back negative, you're fine and TB free. Someone who has recently been infected can test negative as well. It usually takes 2 to 10 weeks after exposure for the test to be accurate.

A positive skin test means you've been infected with TB. This doesn't necessarily meant that you have TB. Additional tests need to be performed, such as an X-ray or sputum sample to see if you actually have the disease.

If you have TB, either an infection or the disease, you will want to do the following:

  • Get all the tests your doctor suggests.
  • Stay home or in isolation until your doctor says it's OK to return to your regular routine.
  • Do not allow people to visit you until your doctor says it's OK. This is particularly true for children.
  • Take your prescriptions as directed. These medications must be taken for up to six months of more, so you want to be sure that you don't skip taking the prescribed medications during this time.

 

Adapted from Centers for Disease Control "Tuberculosis-Get the Facts!"


 


 

 

 

 

 

 




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