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A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Tuberculosis


Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that primarily affects your lungs. However, it can affect any part of the body, including the bones and nervous system. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

Many strains of tuberculosis can resist the effects of the drugs most commonly used to treat the disease. People who have active tuberculosis must take several different types of medications together for many months to eradicate the infection and prevent development of antibiotic resistance.

Typical symptoms of TB include:
  •     having a persistent cough for more than three weeks that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
  •     weight loss 
  •     night sweats 
  •     high temperature (fever)
  •     tiredness and fatigue
  •     loss of appetite
TB that affects the lungs is the only form of the condition that is contagious and usually only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness. For example, TB often spreads within a family who live in the same house.
 
In most healthy people, the immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness) kills the bacteria and you have no further symptoms. However, sometimes the immune system cannot kill the bacteria, but manages to prevent it from spreading in the body. This means you will not have any symptoms, but the bacteria will remain in your body. This is known as latent TB.  
 
You should see a doctor if you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks or if you cough up blood.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

 


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