By Dr. Hardik Thakker, Internal Medicine
Tuberculosis or TB is an airborne disease that mainly affects the lungs and has the potential to be fatal. People with an impaired immune system such as newborn babies, pregnant women or women who have just delivered a baby, diabetics, cancer patients and HIV positive people are at the highest risk of suffering from this disease. However, this disease can be prevented and treated.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from this bacterial infection.
- Keep your distance: TB is a communicable disease and hence can spread from one person to another. If someone around you suffers from this disease, try limiting your contact with them. In cases where this is not possible, wear protective gloves and a mask to keep yourself safe. Avoid crowded, unhygienic places and always wash your hands with a disinfectant after contact with a TB patient.
- Boost your immunity: A strong immune system can fight off TB bacteria and keep you from getting infected. To build a strong immune system, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with the required amount so carbohydrates, proteins and fats every day. Along with this, consult your doctor and start taking multivitamins or antioxidants on a daily basis.
- Maintain proper hygiene: Keeping your surroundings clean are crucial to the prevention of tuberculosis. Ensure that not only your home is kept clean, but the surrounding area is cleaned as well. Do not allow garbage to accumulate around your house. Make it a habit of washing your hands with disinfectant soap every time you come home and before eating anything.
- Vaccinate your children: When getting your children vaccinated, ensure that your child also receives the BCG or Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine that can protect him or her against TB.
- Ventilate the house: The bacteria that causes tuberculosis, thrives in stagnant air and enclosed spaces. Hence, open your windows and let some fresh air in. Not only does this prevent the multiplication of bacteria and viruses in your house, it also does not allow your home to have a musty odour.
- Follow the complete course of treatment: If you have been diagnosed with TB, it is essential to complete the full course of antibiotics and not stop midway even if the symptoms have disappeared. Not adhering to the prescription gives the bacteria the ability to develop resistance to the drugs. When this resistant bacteria is exhaled it can infect more people with drug-resistant tuberculosis that is harder to cure.