Did someone ever coughed in front of you in public? Have you ever shared drinks with someone sick? Are you aware of the possibility of airborne diseases?
According to the World Health Organization about 9 million people a year accumulate Tuberculosis and an estimate of 3 million are being missed by health systems. Tuberculosis is one of the top 3 causes of death both among men and women. It is an airborne pathogen therefore; the bacteria can be transmitted by air. The TB germ can live for about 4 hours and dies. Just enough time for the bacteria to be transmitted.
It affects all age groups including children. However, people in developing countries are being affected, especially young adults.
There are 2 kinds of tuberculosis infection:
- Latent TB: an inactive state of the bacteria which cannot be transmitted. However can be become active.
- Active TB: this is the active state which can be transmitted and can cause long term harm.
Latent TB has 10% chance of becoming active especially to those people who have HIV, malnutrition and people who smoke. While Latent TB may be symptomless, Active TB’s signs and symptoms may include:
- Coughing, sometimes with mucus or blood
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
TB disease can be treated by several drugs for 6 to 9 months depending on the patients’ age and condition. For faster and easier treatment, people who have TB should finish the medication and take the drugs as prescribed; if done otherwise, the TB bacteria may become resistant to drugs making it more difficult and expensive to treat.
Tuberculosis is contagious, but fortunately it is not easy to catch. Don’t let your guard down and be aware of the possibilities of having airborne diseases anytime. If you suspect to have tuberculosis, promptly consult a doctor for further examination. May you never take one single breath for granted; protect your lungs as much as you can.