What is the outlook for a person being treated for TB?

Tuberculosis is a treatable condition and if an infected person has access to proper medical care, can make a full recovery.

If an infected person is battling with or treating other existing conditions, treatment can be a little more complicated. Generally other conditions will show signs of a damaged or impaired immune system. When an immune system is already compromised, effectively treating a bacterial infection such as TB can become more complex and difficult to clear.

The best chance anyone with a TB infection has though, is a full course of antibiotics. The condition cannot be cleared otherwise.

Are there ways you can prevent TB?

High risk areas around the world typically vaccinate children against the disease from a young age (at birth). The vaccine used is known as Bacillus Calmette-Geurin (BCG) and has also been known to be highly effective when administered to adults too. It is, however, more effective in protecting against TB meningitis, and not respiratory TB.

Those who are merely carriers of the TB bacteria and have the latent form may be given a course of preventative antibiotic medications to curb the development of the bacteria in the body from becoming active (showing contagious symptoms).

Spreading the disease can be controlled once a diagnosis is made. If you have been diagnosed with active TB, your doctor will insist that you avoid crowds of people while you are contagious (this may be for up to several weeks). You may even be given a surgical mask (or respirator) to wear for added protection against spreading microscopic droplets in the air.

Another preventative measure concerning those already diagnosed with the disease is medication use. All courses of medication must be taken exactly as directed by a doctor World Tuberculosis (TB) Day - 24 Marchand for the full length of prescribed treatment. This protects both the person infected with TB and others around them. Skipping doses or stopping altogether allows Mycobacterium tuberculosis to multiply, becoming stronger, which in turn makes the bacteria more resistant to medications used to treat it, as well as current vaccinations used to help prevent outbreaks. Once stronger and more resistant, TB becomes increasingly difficult to treat and thus, more deadly.

Another way to avoid TB in children under 5 years of age, who are exposed to a family member with proven TB, is to prescribe antimicrobials which work to prevent the development of the condition. 

Did you know?

World Tuberculosis Day is marked for 24 March each year.

This day is important for raising awareness about the condition and understanding why it happens. In this way, armed knowledge, the broader public can help to prevent the spread of the infectious condition.

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