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By AJ Murphy

Tuberculosis (TB) is an illness that spreads through the air. There are two types of TB: It can be an infection or a disease. It affects your lungs and can spread to other parts of your body. We can help you learn more about treating TB and keeping it from spreading to others. 


Active TB

Active TB is a disease that can spread to others. Over time, medicine can cure TB. You may notice symptoms like:

  • A lasting cough
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness 
  • Loss of appetite


Inactive TB 

Inactive TB is an infection that can’t spread to others. You may still need medicine to keep TB from becoming active. Inactive TB doesn’t have symptoms. But you may still have live TB bacteria in your lungs. The only way to know is with a TB test. 


TB treatment 

If you have TB, get treatment right away. It usually takes about 6 months. You’ll need to:

  • Take all your medication
  • Get plenty of rest and eat healthy meals
  • Keep all your medical appointments
  • Find another method of birth control if your medication makes your birth control pills less effective


Preventing the spread of TB

If you have active TB:

  • Ask family, friends and the people you work with to get tested
  • Avoid close contact with others until your doctor says it’s OK
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover your mouth when you cough


About the author

AJ Murphy is an evocative young writer who grew up in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood. AJ began his writing career at Alaska Ice Rinks Inc. in Anchorage, AK, where he also drove a Zamboni and took care of outdoor hockey rinks. 

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