How Does Tuberculosis Spread and How to Prevent the Spread?

It is important to have knowledge on diseases that are contagious, and one such disease is Tuberculosis (TB). We are all aware of the fact that, “Prevention is better than cure.” Therefore, it is better to prevent TB rather than to cure it.

In our earlier article we discussed “Basic Facts on Tuberculosis (TB)“. In this article, we will discuss how TB spreads and what are the precautions to be taken from spreading?

How TB spreads?

TB is an air borne disease. It spreads through air from one person to another. TB bacteria is in air, when an active TB patient coughs, sneezes, spits, speaks or sings. The bacteria stay in air for several hours depending on the environment.

A person with TB of lung or throat can be infectious, but if the person is infected with TB on other parts of the body they are usually not infectious.

How does TB spread?

TB does not spread by sharing of toothbrushes, sharing eating utensils, sharing food, drinks, bedclothes, touching toilet seats or shaking hands. TB can affect anyone irrespective of age, but some people have higher chance of getting TB disease when:

  • Have HIV infection and other health problems – kidney, head and neck cancer
  • Have a weak immune system
  • Have been infected with TB in the last two years
  • Having poor nutrition
  • Lives in a crowded and unhygienic conditions
  • Individuals who abuse alcohol and use illegal drugs

Preventive measures of TB

If a person is infected with TB disease, it is advisable to take preventive measures from transmitting it to others by early diagnosis and treatment. Some of the preventive measures are:

  • Stay at home for some days, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and ensure proper ventilation. (Note: TB bacteria stay in air for a long time)
  • If you notice the symptoms of TB, consult your doctor to prevent deterioration of the disease and spread of infection to the other parts of the body. The doctor will prescribe medication for treating TB before it worsens.
  • Minimize the chances of TB by leading a healthy life style by doing regular exercise, following healthy diet to boost your immune system, proper sleep and rest, taking fresh air, maintaining good hygiene and good indoor ventilation.
  • If you are in a high risk environment (co-worker and family member who have TB disease). It is advisable to go for regular TB tests.
  • Don’t spend long hours in an enclosed room with TB patients. Wear face masks when talking to them.
  • BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) vaccination: WHO recommends BCG vaccination to all new born babies to protect them against TB.

Hope this information on TB helps you. If you notice any signs and symptoms of TB immediately contact your doctor, because the complications of untreated active TB can prone fatal. The most important thing to keep in mind is to contact your doctor if you notice any symptoms of TB.

You may also like to read:
Basic Facts on Tuberculosis (TB)
Tuberculosis (TB) – Diagnosis and Treatment
Taking Medications Correctly is an Important Aspect of Treating TB
Complications of Untreated Active Tuberculosis


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