Prevention

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TUBERCULOSIS PREVENTION

  • Diagnosis and correct treatment of sputum-positive patients helps in reducing the exposure of TB to others (family members, coworkers).
  • Good ventilation and sunlight (UV light) helps to decrease the load of TB germs in the houses and hospital wards. Sunlight is very effective in killing TB germs.
  • Wearing a face mask can prevent the infection from spreading to other people to some extent. Therefore sputum positive TB patients should either wear a face mask or cover his mouth while coughing and sneezing in order to prevent infection. Though a face mask does not confer adequate protection to the person wearing the mask from inhaling the TB germs.
  • BCG is a TB vaccine, given by an injection to a newborn (till one year of age). The national immunization programme (India) and WHO recommends BCG immunization to all newborns after birth before leaving the hospital or shortly after birth.
  • Prophylactic treatment (Chemoprophylaxis)with daily isoniazid for 6 months, prevents progression of infection to disease. It is usually indicated in:
    • Children below five years of age
    • Newborn of a sputum-positive mother
    • HIV infected persons
  • Special attention should be given to health education. It includes, keeping the handkerchief on the mouth while coughing, talking / sneezing and proper disposal of sputum (covered utensil). Sputum can be disposed in an utensil containing 5% hypochlorite (bleaching powder) or 5% phenol. Poor patients can dispose the sputum by burying it into a pit (away from residential areas) or boiling it over a fire. Patient should be aware about the importance of duration and regularity of treatment. They should also get their contacts (family and coworkers) examined for TB.
  • The best possible way to prevent TB is to educate infectious (sputum-positive) TB cases to take effective and adequate treatment thereby interrupting the chain of transmission.