Frequently Asked Questions on Tuberculosis

 

Q.     What is the cause of tuberculosis?

A.    Tuberculosis is not a hereditary disease. It is an infectious disease. Any person can get afflicted with TB. Whenever, a patient having active tuberculosis coughs or sneezes in an open manner, bacteria causing TB come out in the aerosol. This aerosol can infect any person who happens to inhale it.

 

Q.     What are the symptoms of this disease?

A.    Characteristic symptoms of TB are persistent cough of more than three weeks duration, cough with expectoration of sputum, fever, weight loss or loss of appetite etc. If any of these symptoms persist beyond three weeks, the person concerned should visit the nearest DOTS TB Center or Health Center and get his sputum examined.

 

Q.    What are the investigations done for diagnosing TB and where are they available?

 A.   It is essential to get sputum examined on three consecutive days for TB bacteria in order to diagnose TB. In the NCT of Delhi, DOTS centers have been established at various places. The services provided at these centers are absolutely free.

 

      Sputum for examination should be given after coughing properly. It is important not to give saliva in place of sputum. If saliva is submitted for examination, the disease may not be diagnosed.

 

Q.     What is the treatment of TB?

A.    If a full course of anti-tubercular drugs is taken on a regular basis, this disease is fully curable. A TB patient has to take medicines for a minimum period of six months continuously. The drugs may continue up to on year in some cases. It is important that the drugs are discontinued only on the advice of the doctor. Patients who do not take a complete treatment or take drugs on an irregular basis, their disease turns incurable or even life-threatening.

 

Q.     Is the disease of TB curable?

 A.   Yes, this disease is fully curable if the treatment is taken on a regular and continuous basis for adequate duration.

 

Q.     How can we prevent tuberculosis?

A.    The disease of TB spreads whenever, patients cough or sneeze without covering their faces or spit here and there.

 

       Hence, patients should always cover their faces while coughing or sneezing. One should not spit here and there and always use spittoon for coughing.

 

       At home also, patients should spit in a box which is covered by a lid. Before disposing off the sputum, it should be boiled.

 

       It is very important not to get scared or to hide the disease whenever someone develops the symptoms of TB. It is necessary that the person concerned may get himself/ herself examined and take adequate period.

 

Q.    What is the diet to be given to a TB patient?

A.    As per one's liking, TB patient can eat any type of food. There are no special diets necessary for a TB patient. One should avoid any foodstuff which causes any problem in that particular individual.

 

Q.     What are the things to be avoided by a TB patient?

A.    A patient of TB should avoid consumption of bidi, cigarette, hookah, tobacco, alcohol or any other intoxicating drug.

 

 

Q.    Tuberculosis DO's and Dont's

 

        DO's

 

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Have 2 sputum examinations done if you have cough of three weeks or more. These tests are done free of cost at Government sputum microscopy centers.

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Take all the medicines for the full prescribed period on regular basis.

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Understand that TB can be cured.

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Use handkerchief when coughing or sneezing.

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Spilt in spittoons containing house-hold germicides.

 

        Dont's

 

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Don't avoid medical care if you have cough of three weeks or more.

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Don't rely only on X-ray for diagnosis of TB.

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Don't stop medicines before your physician discontinues them.

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Don't discriminate against TB patients.

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Don't spit indiscriminately.

 

Q.    What is DOTS?

DOTS stands for directly observed treatment short course, the curative treatment for tuberculosis.  It is the name for a comprehensive strategy which primary health services around the world are using to detect and cure TB patients.  It combines five elements:

(i)        Political commitment to a National Tuberculosis Control Programme

(ii)      Microscopy services to detect the infectious cases among those people attending health care facilities with symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis, most importantly cough of 3 weeks duration or more.

(iii)     Regular uninterrupted supply of anti-TB drugs. The establishment of a dependable, high quality supply of anti-TB drugs throughout the health system is an essential part of the DOTS strategy to ensure that the treatment of TB patients is never interrupted.

(iv)      Direct observation of the treatment for at least initial intensive phase. As a part of DOTS strategy health workers  counsel and observe their patients swallowing each dose of powerful combination of medicines.

(v)        Monitoring and accountability system for programme supervision and

        evaluation of treatment of each patient diagnosed.

 

Q.    What are the advantages of DOTS

 
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DOTS produces cure rate high as 95 percent.

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DOTS guarantees quicker and surer relief from the disease.

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DOTS has changed the lives of 17 lakh patients in India.

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DOTS is a strategy for alleviating poverty. Saving lives, reducing the duration of illness, and preventing new infectious cases would mean fewer years of employment lost.

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DOTS prolongs survival of HIV-Infected TB patients.

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DOTS prevents treatment failure and the emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis by ensuring patient compliance and uninterrupted supply of anti-TB drug.

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DOTS increases the reach of health services. The DOTS strategy has been remarkably successful in promoting the development of peripheral health services.

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DOTS is available for free at all Health Centres.

 

Q.    How many DOTS centres are there in LRS Institute territory?

A.    There are 18 DOTS cum Microscopy centres and 7 DOTS centres.

 

Q.    What is Drug Resistant Tuberculosis?

A.    In recent years tuberculosis has become a major problem because of emergence of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis which does not respond to the usual antibiotic given for simple tuberculosis. The reason for drug resistance is irregular and incomplete treatment taken by the patients. MDR TB can be prevented by taking medicines for tuberculosis regularly and for full duration. This form of tuberculosis requires medicines, which are very expensive and still may not work and the duration of the treatment can be more than 2 years.

 

Q.    How TB & HIV are related?

A.    Anyone can become infected with TB, but people with HIV and TB infection are at greater risk of getting sick with TB disease.

 

        Even if you only have TB infection, the bacteria remains in your body and is still a threat to you. As your immune system is weakend by HIV, the bacteria can start growing and multiplying. It then becomes TB disease.