Tuberculosis (TB) Treatment Q&A
If you experience a cough, fever, fatigue, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood, get your TB testing done. TB affects the lungs and is an infectious disease. At Express Health Urgent Care, our doctors are providing TB treatment. For more information, contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations in East Harlem NYC, Metropolitan NYC and Staten Island NYC.
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Once the vaccination was invented, Tuberculosis had become a very rare disease in many countries, until around the 1980s. Infections subsided a bit again in the 90s, but it is still a relevant infection that requires continuing herd immunity to prevent the spread of the bacterium. It is still considered to be one of the more lethal infections that are highly contagious, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to visit a healthcare provider if you have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with tuberculosis for early treatment and preventable spreading.
Tuberculosis is an infection that is caused by exposure to a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis that typically affects the lungs but may also target the brain, spine, and kidneys. There are two types of tuberculosis-related conditions that exist; latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and tuberculosis disease. The infection is contagious because the bacterium can be spread as droplets that are expelled from the bodies through sneezing and coughing. LTBI does not cause any symptoms due to the bacteria from the infection being inactive in your body, also meaning that it is not contagious at this stage. LTBI can turn into active tuberculosis so treatment is still important. Active tuberculosis is a condition that will make you sick as well as contagious.
The bacteria can be in your body as inactive for weeks up to years before they become active. Some symptoms of active tuberculosis include coughing that lasts for longer than 3 weeks and expels blood or mucus, painful coughing or breathing, chest pains, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, fevers and chills, and night sweats.
Even though tuberculosis can prove to be resistant to the antibiotics and medications that are currently available, almost all cases of tuberculosis can be fully cured. Due to the resistance, it may just take up to 6 months before the infection fully dissipates.
A typical treatment for active tuberculosis attacking the lungs consists of a 6-month course of two different types of antibiotics. These two antibiotics are isoniazid and rifampicin. It is important that you are screened for tuberculosis as soon as any symptoms appear since the infection is so contagious and easily spread. For those with weakened immune systems or who are more at risk for tuberculosis or have experienced possible exposure, screening for latent tuberculosis infection is recommended.
Those who are considered more at risk of developing tuberculosis include those who use IV drugs, healthcare providers who specialize in tuberculosis, are from a country where tuberculosis is more prevalent, have HIV/Aids, or work in prisons or nursing homes where tuberculosis infections may be more common. While primarily a combination of different antibiotics is the best course of treatment for tuberculosis, ensuring that the rest of the population has herd immunity against the infection is the best way to prevent tuberculosis from spreading, which is why a tuberculosis vaccination is available and highly recommended for anyone physically able to be properly immunized.
Treatment for tuberculosis can be provided at any point in the infection, the earlier the better to ensure that the spread of the bacteria is as controlled as possible. There are three stages of tuberculosis: exposure, latent tuberculosis infection, and active tuberculosis. As soon as the first stage, of exposure has happened, it can be diagnosed with a skin test or a blood test. It can take at least three weeks before a skin test will pick up a positive diagnosis for tuberculosis after initial exposure to the bacterium.
The skin test is more common for people who are concerned they have contracted the infection due to exposure, and the blood test is more commonly used to diagnose those who have become symptomatic. Both the skin tests and blood tests are supported by other tests to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate before treatment is started.
The only means of treatment available for tuberculosis is antibiotics, and if your condition proves to be resistant to the initial antibiotics, different ones will be prescribed until the infection is completely cured. For more information, contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations in Brooklyn NYC, East Harlem NYC, Coney Island NYC, Nostrand NYC, Metropolitan NYC and Staten Island. We serve patients from Brooklyn NYC, Queens NY, East Harlem NYC, Manhattan NY, Coney Island NYC, Midwood NY, Nostrand NYC, Ridgewood NY, Metropolitan NYC, Greenwich Village NY, and surrounding areas.