Every year, 24th March is observed as “World Tuberculosis Day”. It is a global annual campaign, done to raise awareness regarding the disease. Tuberculosis is an airborne disease, which affects the lungs in the most fatal way possible. Rough figures suggest, that it is so dangerous that it can kill up to 4000 people everyday. India has the highest number of TB cases in the world, this is not just a health concern but also an economic burden. Tuberculosis is a major threat to the world these days, the following are the reasons why:
- It is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person when someone untreated coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings.
- People with HIV are more vulnerable to tuberculosis, as HIV suppresses the immune system.
- Diseases like diabetes, cancer, cancer treatment, malnutrition and even infants are more prone to TB.
- People living in Africa, Asia, Russia, Latin America and Caribbean islands are also likely to suffer from TB.
- Poverty, drug abuse, substance abuse and tobacco use contribute largely towards TB, this can be the reason for India having the highest number of cases.
While there are many drugs available in the market for treating and curing TB. We should also keep in mind that some bacteria have become resistant to the medication available and TB also has the tendency to relapse. We need to exercise caution and should be alert even before we fall prey to this fatal disease. So, in order to keep ourselves healthy, we must take the following steps to avoid becoming a victim of TB:
- The best way to prevent TB is to get yourself vaccinated with BCG.
- Get yourself checked if you were exposed to a TB patient.
- Starting treatment immediately, if you’re diagnosed with latent TB. The most common treatment is taking isoniazid for 6-9 months.
- Stay at home and ventilate the room as TB cannot grow in fresh air, it needs stagnant air and enclosed spaces to spread.
- Wear a mask and always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Prevention and treatment, are the most we can do to keep ourselves away from a disease. But the most important thing to do is educate ourselves and people around us regarding fatal diseases. The theme of this year’s “World Tuberculosis Day” is to UNITE TO END TUBERCULOSIS. This is a collective global effort to eradicate this disease. But at times, despite our best efforts we still fall ill and contract diseases that we never wanted to. During those rough times, we must be at least financially prepared if not mentally to start our treatment. That is why, it is imperative that we get ourselves the best health insurance policy, that can act as a shield during the time of a crisis.