All you need to know about TB

TB or tuberculosis (too-ber-kew-low-sis) is an infectious disease (spreads easily from one person to another) usually affecting the lungs (your breathing) or other parts of the body such as the brain, kidneys or joints. If TB spreads to other parts of your body, it can be very serious.

How can I catch TB?
When someone who is sick with TB coughs or sneezes, then the TB germs are sprayed into the air. The germs can stay in the air for a long time. If you breathe some of these germs into your lungs, you will be infected too.

If someone is coughing, turn away and cover your nose and mouth

How do I protect myself from catching TB?
  • If someone is coughing, turn away and cover your nose and mouth.
  • Open the windows in taxis, at home and in the classroom.
  • Take a TB test, especially if you are HIV positive.

What are the signs of TB?
  • a constant cough with thick phlegm (mucus),
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • night sweats,
  • losing weight,
  • and feeling tired all the time.

Can TB be cured?
Yes, TB can be treated and cured with the right medication so it’s really important to take all your TB medication properly. If you stop taking your medication early, before all you pills are finished, you can get even sicker.

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B-Wise User Anonymous 13 December 2018 19:38

My boyfriend was diagnosed with genital tb but we can't get treatment from public clinics because it seems there's less information regarding this disease I've also noticed Genital that symptoms on me.. I need guidance and recommendations

Thank you for your question. We have sent it to an expert and will get back to you within 48 hours with a response.
B-Wise User Anonymous 3 May 2018 21:46

Hi iam doing the trading of all the MDR & TB patients why is it so hard that the MDR refused to come to the clinic its the something that the health can do about the MDR plz

B-Wise Expert Expert 12 May 2018 14:06

Hi there, thank you for your question. It is great work that you are doing. The only thing we can do is work together and encourage people to make use of the services available at the local clinics. 

B-Wise User Bagawee123 25 March 2018 11:19

I finished my tb treatment a month ago, but my cough hasnt gone away, i was coughing for about a month and 2 weeks before seeking help, i tought was chest infection, private doctor referred me to clinic and was diagnosed with tb i have been on treatment for 7 months, and have been treated but i havent stopped coughing, i am coughing for 10 months( counting from the month i started coughing till today), i was coughing through the whole treatment, it got better but why am i still coughing?, i dont know what to do, i must get results on my culture on the 27th march, but ehat if its negative, what must i do, im still coughing like someone who has tb, help me please, ive got children and i want my life back, i want to enjoy life again

B-Wise Expert Expert 27 March 2018 13:15

Hi thank you for your question. It is very important that you receive your culture test result, as this can help you to know what to do next.  It is also important to go for a re-test for TB because you may have been re-infected since you finished your treatment. If the new TB test and culture are both negative, the clinic should send you for a chest X-ray. This X-ray will check if the coughing is because of permanent damage to your lungs caused by the TB. Coughing is not always because of an infection or a condition of the chest – it can also be caused by some medication. It’s best that you visit a healthcare worker at your nearest clinic, because they will be able to check you out and tell you what the problem may be. You can use the Clinic Finder to help you find a clinic nearest to you.  

B-Wise User Anonymous 13 February 2018 16:05

Hi is being 5months since i finished my tb treatment and i'm also HIV positive o'm taking medication,i was 80kg before i got sick then after my weight dropped to 60kg now i'm weighing 120kg after 5months of completing my treatment it is normal or i'm still sick? Cause my feet are still sore and painfull i cannot go to gym what must i do?please help

B-Wise Expert Expert 5 April 2018 17:23

 Hi there, thank you for your question. It is normal to lose weight when you have TB or HIV with a low CD4 count. In fact, weight loss is an indication that the diseases are worsening. So it’s great that you have started treatment for both. 

Weight gain is a sign that you are getting better. Although , it may now become necessary for you to watch how much you eat  and do some regular exercise. 

You can also speak with your nurse/ doctor to find out if you are taking any medication that causes weight gain.  

Lastly, there are other conditions that cause weight gain such problems with your thyroid. You could speak to your nurse/doctor about whether these are a possibility for you. 

B-Wise User Anonymous 10 November 2017 13:07

Can I infect other people with abdominal TB,cause I am not coughing?

B-Wise Expert Expert 26 March 2018 15:41

Hi there, thank you for your question. If you only have abdominal TB and you have never coughed, and you have never been diagnosed with pulmonary (lung) TB, it’s unlikely that you will spread TB. But it is best that those around you, especially children and anyone who is HIV positive, should get checked for TB at the local clinic. Remember to take your TB treatment and take care of yourself.

B-Wise User Anonymous 24 October 2017 12:03

Can I infect other people if I have abdominal tb , cause i'm not coughing.

B-Wise Expert Expert 5 April 2018 17:42

Hi, thank you for your question. If you only have abdominal TB and have never coughed or been diagnosed with pulmonary (lung) TB then you are unlikely to be able to spread it. However, those around, particularly young children and anyone who is HIV positive) should still be screened for TB at their local clinic. 

In the meantime, look after yourself and take your TB treatment. 

B-Wise User Anonymous 9 October 2017 13:51

Please help can abdominal tb ,comes back even after six months treatment, and how can I prevent it not to comes back again?

B-Wise Expert Expert 17 October 2017 10:16

Hi Anonymous. Yes, TB of the abdomen (and any other form of TB) can still come back after it has been treated. What you can do is to take your treatment for the 6 month period exactly as your doctor tells you. This can prevent the TB from reactivating. You can also get TB from other people even after you have completed your TB treatment – this is called re-infection. It is best to visit your nearest clinic so they can do a proper check-up.

B-Wise User Anonymous 26 September 2017 14:26

What is the different between abdominal tb and lungs or any of tb?

B-Wise Expert Expert 28 September 2017 22:39

Dear anonymous. There are different types of TB and they are named depending on where they affect the body. TB of the lungs, for example, is TB that affects the lungs. People usually catch it through inhalation (breathing in the bacteria) and it causes symptoms such as coughing and producing sputum (mucus and spit), weight loss, fever and night sweats.

TB of the abdomen affects the abdomen (stomach) and can cause symptoms such as getting fluid in the abdomen or having abdominal organs (like the liver) enlarge, as well as weight loss, fever and night sweats, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can happen if someone who has TB of the lungs swallows their sputum, or if the TB bacteria infect the lymph nodes in the abdomen.

B-Wise User Anonymous 6 September 2017 15:35

Please help with the answer on my question.

B-Wise Expert Expert 20 April 2018 12:36

Hi there, your question has been answered 

B-Wise User Anonymous 4 September 2017 15:31

Hi I've finished up my treatment for tb for six months, and I've tested negative now my problem is my feet/toe's are still sore like cold and painful so how long does the medication get out of the body system.

B-Wise Expert Expert 11 September 2017 14:05

Hi Anonymous. Congratulations on completing your TB treatment! The symptoms you described sound like those of ‘peripheral neuropathy’. It is a common symptom of medications used to treat TB, and in some cases HIV. Peripheral neuropathy can also result from use of other medication and chronic diseases. If you haven’t been tested for HIV, make sure you get tested soon and know your status. If it’s a side effect of medication, it usually goes away after some time – but either way, there are medications that can help with your symptoms. It is important to consult with a health care worker to be sure of the reason for the neuropathy, so that you can get the right treatment.  

B-Wise User Anonymous 18 August 2017 11:15

I tested hiv positive in last 7weeks. I'm in therapy and now. My blood results can negative for kidney and for tbs also negative. But I have terrible back pain as if is kidney. What must I do. Still nauseous every morning hope is side effects of therapy but till when cos I'm on therapy for 6weeks now. Help please

B-Wise Expert Expert 19 August 2017 16:05

Hi anonymous, Well done for getting tested and starting therapy! You are doing what is best for your health! It can take a few weeks for your body to get used to the medications and it is quite normal to have a few side effects in the beginning. These usually go away with time, so don't stop taking the medicines. If the side effects are getting worse or still worrying you, it is best just to go back to the clinic so that they can make sure there is nothing else that is causing these and they can give you something to help settle the pain. Looking for a clinic near you? No worries! You can find and rate a clinic near you on B-Wise here: 

B-Wise User Anonymous 11 August 2017 12:17

Hi I've been taking medication for tb for the past six months, now my question is what kind of drinks (alcohol) is perfect for my health after tested negative results.

B-Wise Expert Expert 14 August 2017 23:07

Hi Anonymous, well done for taking your medication! Taking TB treatment doesn’t affect which alcohol you can or can’t drink once you’ve finished with treatment. But for any person, alcohol should be used in a safe environment and in moderation (a maximum of 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks a day for men), with at least two alcohol-free days per week.