Tuberculosis is a highly infectious ailment, affecting the human lungs. The disease-causing bacteria spread from one individual to the other through small droplets released into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Patients plagued with acute TB should go through a tuberculosis test procedure and take medicines for several months to get rid of the infection, thus averting the growth of antibiotic resistance.
Know the Tuberculosis Symptoms
Active tuberculosis will make you seriously ill. The condition is extremely contagious. The symptoms may manifest within the first week after being infected with the bacteria. Sometimes, symptoms may surface after a year or so. In any case, a tuberculosis test and tuberculosis treatment are essential.
Common tuberculosis symptoms include cough lasting for three or more weeks, coughing with blood, appetite loss, fatigue, unexplainable loss of weight, chest pain, pain while coughing or breathing, chills, and night sweats.
Diagnose the Tuberculosis
During the initial medical examination, your doctor will examine your lymph nodes for any bulge or swelling. The medical professional will use a stethoscope and listen to your lung sounds while you breathe. When your tuberculosis symptoms are clear, your doctor will perform a skin test. Other routine blood tests may also be conducted.
Tuberculosis Skin Test
Your doctor will inject a fluid called tuberculin, just underneath your forearm skin. The fluid contains inactive tuberculosis bacteria. When visiting your doctor after a couple of days, the medical professional will check for any reaction. If you have a swelling or a hard bump on your forearm, the test is positive, implying you’re infected with the disease. However, this does not mean that you have active TB.
Tuberculosis Blood Test
Tuberculosis blood test results are important to validate or exclude the possibilities of active or inactive tuberculosis. This test is more reliable than the TB skin test and employs high-end technology to determine how your immune system is responding to tuberculosis bacteria.
You will need to visit the doctor only once for this test. A blood test is more effective if you are vulnerable to TB infection and run the risk of contracting the disease. The TB blood test is useful if your skin test showed a negative result or if you recently had a shot of the BCG vaccine. If the blood test is positive, you’re infected with TB and will need to undergo other tests to confirm that you have active tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis prevention and treatment is much easier if diagnosed early. Medications work best for the disease. However, the treatment takes relatively more time than treating other ailments. If you have active tuberculosis, you will be prescribed antibiotics for about six to nine months. The right medicines and duration of tuberculosis treatment depend on a host of factors, like your overall health condition, age, where the infection is located in your body, and resistance to drugs.
In the case of inactive TB, one or two medicines will help treat the condition. However, active TB requires multiple medications.