WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infection that usually starts in the lungs. It is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB spreads mainly through the air.
- Antibiotic medicines: You must complete your treatment until you are cured of TB, even if you do not feel sick. It is very important that you take your TB medicines exactly as your primary healthcare provider tells you. If you skip or stop your pills, TB germs will not be killed. You will always have TB germs in your body unless you correctly take all your medicines.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
You must have regular follow-up to make sure the medicine is working. Your primary healthcare provider will need to check your weight, temperature, and lungs regularly. It is very important that you keep all your appointments. You may need to have chest x-rays and sputum samples during your follow-up exams. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Remember to take your medicines:
TB can only be cured if you take your medicines exactly as caregivers tell you. This may not be easy because you will have to take medicine for a long time. Following are some ways to remember to take your medicines:
- Get involved in the DOT program: The Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) program helps you be sure that you take all your medicines correctly. A caregiver will watch you take your medicines every day or several times a week.
- Keep a regular schedule: Take your medicine at the same time every day. Each night, put out the pills for the next day. Mark a calendar each day you take your pills.
- Create reminders: Ask a family member or friend to remind you to take your pills.
- Keep medicines in reach: Keep the pills in a place where you cannot miss them, such as the bathroom or kitchen. Be sure they are out of reach of children.
Prevent the spread of TB:
- Take your medicine as directed: The most important way to keep from spreading TB is to take your medicine correctly. If you forget to take your pills one time, skip that dose and take the next scheduled dose. Write down that you missed a dose and tell your primary healthcare provider at your next visit.
- Be careful when sick: The bacteria that cause TB are easily spread from one person to another through the air. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Throw the used tissue away. If possible, flush used tissues down a toilet.
- Wash your hands: Always wash your hands with soap and water after you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid close contact with others: Babies and elderly people are at increased risk for TB.
- Tell others about your TB: Tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you have TB so they can follow up with a caregiver. They may have latent TB and need to take medicine to prevent it from becoming active.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have a rash, nausea, or vomiting.
- The whites of your eyes or your skin look yellow.
- Your urine looks like dark tea or coffee.
- Your symptoms do not go away or get worse, even if you are taking your medicines.
- You have a cough that does not go away after 3 or 4 weeks following a cold.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have chest pain or cough up blood.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have a fever, headache, and a stiff neck.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Tuberculosis (Aftercare Instructions)
Drugs associated with:
- Adrenal Tuberculosis
- CNS Tuberculosis
- History, Tuberculosis
- Ocular Tuberculosis
- Pulmonary Tuberculosis
- Tuberculosis, Active
- Tuberculosis, Urinary Tract
- Tuberculous Esophagitis
- Tuberculous Pleurisy
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