Need more information on tb

Hello, my friend was recently diagnosed with tb, and I would like to know more about it, such as how long do you have it for, how contagious is it, what the effects of it are e.g

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  • Dear Cyan,

    I had Pulmonary Tuberculosis 55years ago when I was a teenager. So my understanding may be slightly out of date though you can see that the treatment I received then has been pretty successful.

    My form of TB was quite aggressive, I was diagnosed when I started coughing up large amounts of scarlet blood. I was highly infectious and spent 5 months in a sanatorium. Others at that time did not have the symptoms. Some did not know they had TB until picked out from screening tests.

    I had drugs to eliminate the disease. Others had to have sections of lung removed. Treatment has developed since that time. If I can survive and live a normal life for all this time, I am sure your friend can do so as well.

    Maybe others can fill you in with modern treatments. Best wishes,

    Geoff

  • Hi cyan94,

    I am sorry to hear about your friend's TB diagnosis, though it is great that they have a good friend like you who wants to educate themselves about the illness. There is, unfortunately, a lot is misinformation about TB that makes it seem scarier than it needs to be.

    TB is an illness that can affect anyone, though you are more at risk if you are in poor health because of illness (such as diabetes or HIV) or an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. drinking or taking drugs). In fact, most people who breathe in the bacteria that cause TB can get rid of it straight away and never become ill.

    What type of TB does your friend have? It can affect any part of the body but it is only infectious if it is in the lungs. Even then, just two weeks of treatment stops any risk of them passing it on.

    If your friend does have an infectious form of TB, their close contacts will be invited for a TB test as a precaution. This is a simple skin test or blood test to see if someone has signs of TB in their body. If they do, they are offered treatment to help stop the TB from causing them any harm.

    Your friends treatment will take at least six months with various antibiotics. People can also be diagnosed with a sleeping form of TB called latent TB, which is not making them ill but that can make them ill in future. The treatment for this takes 3-6 months.

    I hope this helps? There is lots more information on this website: thetruthabouttb.org

    Best wishes,

    Helen

  • I should add, Geoff is right that treatment has moved on since he fell ill. People are rarely put in isolation these days. And if the illness is caught and treated early long-term health issues can be prevented. That said, it is still a nasty illness and the treatment can be unpleasant too, so your friend will appreciate your love and support.

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