Many people have heard of tuberculosis (TB), but are not necessarily informed about the details of the disease. With nearly 10,000 people in the U.S. being diagnosed with TB each year, this knowledge is essential. Knowing the signs of TB, its method of infection, and getting tested regularly can help you avoid the long-term effects of this bacteria. You can start by reading the answers to the following common TB questions:
1) Do people with tuberculosis always show symptoms?
Some people may assume if they had tuberculosis, they would know. However, this is not always the case. Some people may have the tuberculosis bacteria dormant in their body, a condition known as latent TB infection. Those with latent TB infection can feel perfectly fine and not present any symptoms of tuberculosis, nor will they be contagious to others. Unfortunately, this latent form of the illness can develop into tuberculosis disease. This is why TB testing is important for everyone.
2) What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
In most cases, tuberculosis infection largely affects the lungs. Common symptoms include pain in the chest and coughing. This cough often results in the ejection of phlegm, called sputum. In some cases, individuals with TB can cough up small quantities of blood. If an infection remains active for long enough, it can lead to significant scarring of the lungs' upper lobes. People infected with TB can also experience diminished appetite, fever and chills, chronic fatigue, loss of weight, and night sweats. If urgent care doctors notice any of these symptoms, they will likely recommend TB testing.
3) How does tuberculosis spread?
Tuberculosis is typically spread when the bacteria become airborne. This happens through a variety of means -- when infected individuals cough or sneeze, speak, laugh, etc. Once airborne, TB bacteria simply have to be breathed in by others who are in the vicinity to spread the infection. Once in the body, the bacteria tend to infect the lungs, though they can also impact the spine, brain and kidneys.
If you are interested in being tested for TB infection, the medical professionals at Immediate Clinic will take excellent care of you and your family. Over 85% of urgent care clinics are open seven days a week. With Immediate Clinics open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the year, we’ll be here whenever you need care. Find a location near you.