Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection, caused by mycobacteria tuberculosis. It is an airborne infection which infects the lung resulting in coughing, chest pains and chills. This is usually spread by inhaling droplets from an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. There are different types of TB one of them being Latent tuberculosis which has no symptoms and it’s not infectious. Another type is pulmonary tuberculosis also known as Active TB, which is very contagious as the infection spreads to other parts of the body due to the weakened immune system.
There is also extrapulmonary TB which occurs outside the lungs.The treatment for tuberculosis (TB) typically involves taking antibiotics over several months. TB is a serious condition that can be deadly when left untreated hence why it takes longer to treat compared to other types of bacterial infections. You are required to take antibiotics for over 6-9 months depending on the type of TB and the individual’s age and overall health. Research has shown that shorter-term treatment is more effective as people are more likely to complete the course. The benefit of having shorter-term treatment is that it will prevent the latent TB from progressing into Active TB.Those who have latent TB will require one type of drug, however, those who have Active TB will require several drugs at a time since it can have a drug-resistant strain. Those who are 65 and under are recommended treatment.
If you do not treat the active TB it can kill the individual. Examples of medication are; Isoniazid which must be taken daily or twice weekly for nine months. Other options available are taking Isoniazid as well as Rifapentine once weekly for 12 weeks or taking Rifampicin up to 4 months daily. The antibiotics used to treat TB have an impact on the liver and can cause damage; therefore, those who aged between 35-65 your TB team will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of the treatment available.Pulmonary Tb is very infectious and about 2-3 weeks into treatment you have to be kept isolated because it’s very contagious so you must take precautions. For active pulmonary TB, you’re given a six-month course of antibiotics. This involves taking two antibiotics of isoniazid and rifampicin for six months.
Other antibiotics are pyrazinamide and ethambutol which are taken in the in the first two months of the six-month treatment.Extrapulmonary TB can be treated with the same antibiotics as pulmonary TB, however, if the TB is in the brain or around the heart, you can be given corticosteroid like prednisolone along with the antibiotics in order to reduce any swelling in the certain area. Overall to have successful treatment of TB the patient and doctor must be able to cooperate.
The problems with taking medication are that it has very bad side effects because of the impact it has on the liver which causes nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. It can also affect physical appearance causing the skin to go yellow and dark urine. This is why you are required to follow instructions from your doctor.
Completing treatment is vital because if an individual was to stop taking TB drugs the bacterium that is alive in the body can become resistant and become more harmful making it difficult to treat. To help people will their treatment there is a program called directly observed therapy (DOT) where health care providers administer your medication so that individuals are kept up to date and remember to take their medication. It is better to prevent the TB than treating it which is why people are advised to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing to prevent spreading. Treatment is recommended for those who live in countries where TB is common which is why the BCG vaccine is available to prevent the spread of TB. This is usually given to infants.