TB is an insidious disease known as a “silent killer” where the symptoms can take months and sometimes years to develop. But when they do, your body will cry for help.
The disease starts slowly, invading your body without any warning, and develops quickly as it strikes mainly at the lungs. At first you may develop a persistent cough that you might be tempted to ignore.
But in the latter stages of the disease you might develop other symptoms. So it is important to remain vigilant.
A person with one or more of the following symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- Unusual cough that persists for more than two weeks;
- Coughing up blood;
- Loss of appetite and weight loss;
- Chest pains when breathing;
- Night sweats;
- Feeling weak and tired.
If you are suspected of having TB, expect to undergo a series of tests at the clinic including a skin test, a sputum test and a chest X-ray. Some tests take 48 to 72 hours to get the results. Others may take much longer. If the tests show that you have sleeping TB you will be offered medication to kill the bacteria. The tests may also show that you have active TB, which means you may require hospitalization but the treatment is mandatory.
TB should not be taken lightly. It’s important to protect your health and the health of your loved ones, your friends and other members of the community. So know the symptoms, get tested and take the treatment as prescribed.