Time To talk about TB

It’s Time… To talk about TB. To Know my TB status. To step up the fight to end TB. For a World without TB

Dr Avron Urison
Dr Avron Urison
19 March 2019 | 2 minute read
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These are the calls to action for World TB Day on 24 March 2019. This year’s theme is "It’s Time"…Here at Legal&Tax, we believe that indeed it is time for more South Africans to be informed about this disease. Knowledge saves lives.

The statistics around the disease, provided by the Stop TB partnership, are frightening:

  • TB (Tuberculosis) claims over 4 500 lives every day around the world.
  • It is among the top ten causes of death worldwide.
  • Approximately 2 billion people are currently infected with TB.
  • Every year 10 million people develop TB.
  • This includes one million children and one million people living with HIV/AIDS.
Yet TB is curable!

So why is it that four million people a year are missing out on TB treatment?

This situation has to stop. Inform yourself and your loved ones, so that those affected can start on the path to prevention and the road to recovery.

What is TB?

Tuberculosis is an air-borne infection.  This means that it spreads from person to person, from actions like sneezing, coughing and spitting. These actions then send the TB bacteria (germs) into the air.

It takes only a few of these germs to infect a person.

Once, you have contracted the infection, it usually begins to harm your lungs.

Unfortunately, South Africa is one of the countries that records very high rates of tuberculosis.

How can I prevent myself from contracting TB?

Ask people to cough or sneeze away from you and to cover their mouths or noses.

Always make sure rooms are well-ventilated: for example, that windows are open.

You are more like to get the infection if your immune system is compromised.  Your immune system is the way your body fights against getting ill.  As such you need to be especially carefully if you are malnourished, have HIV, suffer from diabetes or are a smoker.

What are the typical symptoms of TB?

At first, it can be difficult to identify the specific symptoms that show you might have TB.  This is because the signs you have,might be similar to those of other illnesses. 

You need to watch out for:

  • Coughs – These can become severed and ongoing; It can also include coughing up blood or a thick liquid  mixture of mucus and saliva called sputum.
  • Fevers
  • Night sweats (when you sweat heavily while you sleep)
  • Weight loss
  • A loss of appetite
  • A constant feeling of tiredness

These symptoms can go on for months.  It is better to be safe than to be sorry – If these signs are happening to you, go to a doctor or clinic and request a TB test.

If you have TB, the sooner you start treatment the better; it can also ensure you do not spread the disease to other people.

What clinics or hospitals can I go to if I suspect I have TB?

It is free to get a TB test and treatment at all government clinics.

Also if you have a child under the age of 5, take them to the clinic to get a BCG vaccine.  This can prevent your child from getting the infection. This vaccine is free at clinics.

How often do I need to take my treatment?
The treatment for TB is excellent.  However, it is long and it can take 6 to 8 months to be completed.

The treatment involves taking different tablets.
One of the most serious problems is that some people stop their treatment once they start feeling better.  You are risking your life, if you do this.  You need to complete the full course of medication.

 There can be side-effects to taking the medicine; mostly these will stop after a short time. However, if they carry on beyond two or three weeks, go back to the clinic and they will help you.   

Can I be cured?

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 54 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment in the period between 2000 and 2017.

Multi-drug resistant TB is becoming a serious problem. This is a form of TB that does not respond to the usual drugs.  Without careful medical treatment, your life is at risk – that is why it is essential to seek help for TB as soon as possible.

How should I adjust my diet if I have TB?

If you are recovering from TB, you need to keep your body as strong as possible.  This means following a healthy diet and ensuring that you are eating enough calories, even if you have lost your appetite.

Make sure you include the following kinds of food into your diet:

  • Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Whole grains, nuts and seeds
  • Cereals and porridges
  • Fish, chicken, eggs or soya
  • Milk and yoghurts
  • Lots of water
  • Avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks

Legal&Tax are your caring companion through the challenges life throws to us – including health problems. Recovering from TB can affect the usual routine of your life. 

Consider Legal&Tax’s HealthCare Plan to assist you with the expenses which you might need to cover, if admitted to hospital.

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for seeking any form of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it as a result of something you have read on this Website. Legal and Tax Services, their employees, agents and representatives, are hereby indemnified from any damages or consequential loss suffered for any reason whatsoever that may arise out of or in connection with any article published or made in good faith.

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