Defining the knowledge and creating a better understanding of Tuberculosis can best be understood my removing the myths. In myths, the fallacies trap the real knowledge. Here are five myths and their truths to set the record straight. Educating the community with facts helps to decrease the rates of infection.
- It only affects the lungs – while there is some truth in this statement, it is only because it is most common for TB to affect the lungs. However, TB can also affect any other organ/area in the “Body such as the lymph nodes, bones, kidney, brain, spine, and even the skin” (1) If TB spreads to the bones, you can have bone pain.
- Everyone knows when they get TB– some people with TB never develop symptoms or the symptoms may be attributed to other ailments. Symptoms of TB can include a “persistent cough, Constant Fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, night sweats” (2) and more. No one should ever ignore any signs of illness; best practice is to always check with your medical provider.
- Tuberculosis is always fatal– Absolutely false, there are many drugs available to treat the different stages of TB. It is a curable disease. Most treatments for Tuberculosis can last six to twelve months. Responding well the treatments requires people to closely monitor their medications.
- Tuberculosis is always contagious stay away from people who have it– While somewhere in the world, someone is affected every second does not mean that they are contagious or need to be confined from society. “Not everyone infected with TB germs develops active TB; only 5-10% of people who are infected with TB become sick or infectious.”(3) There are several stages or phases of TB, if treated properly; an infected person can become latent or no longer contagious. The only forms of TB that are infectious deal with the lungs.
- Tuberculosis is rare and only affects smokers – TB knows nothing about who it infects. Anyone who has been exposed to an infected person, smoker or not can contract it. TB is worse in those of have weak immune systems such as children and HIV infected people. For people who smoke, it is a more common occurrence due to the damage that smoking causes such “damaged lungs, damaged immune system which reduces the effectiveness of treatments”.(4)
Now that you are a bit more knowledgeable on the facts of Tuberculous, you will be better able to combat the spread of more fallacies. Those who struggle with TB need all the help and acceptance that society can offer. With knowledge, the missions of many to decrease the spread of TB develops a solid foundation.