Live Chat:TB

TB or tuberculosis (too-ber-kew-low-sis) is a disease that spreads easily from one person to another. It usually affects the lungs, making it hard to breathe – and it’s a big problem for young people in South Africa.

Do you want to know more about TB?

Join us LIVE on VOW FM 88.1FM and vowfm.co.za on Wednesday 29 March from 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM. Our health expert Dr Ribka will be answering all your TB questions.

Submit your question in the comment section below. 


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B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 14:11

Is there special TB medication for kids?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 14:15

No, there is no special TB medication for kids. TB medication is dosed according to your weight not age. So the dose you get is what is right for you and your weight because some adults with TB can lose a lot of weight and have the same weight as kids. 



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 14:02

Are there different symptoms for different types of TB?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 14:06

HI, Anonymous. It can be difficult to diagnose TB outside the lungs because a person may not be coughing and they cant do the TB test which is the sputum TB test. For those patients the symptoms would be weight loss, night sweats and tiredness.  If you have these symptoms even without the coughing, visit your clinic or doctor for a check up. 



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:48

Is there a cure for tb

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:49

Hi Anonymous, Yes, TB can be treated and cured with the right medication, so it’s really important to take all your TB medication properly (the way your doctor tells you to). If you stop taking your medication early, before all you pills are finished, you could get even sicker.



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:42

If im taking supplements, will that clash with my TB medication?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 14:22

This is a very common question, it is a good idea to take your supplements to your doctor or nurse so they can see it and let you know if it is safe to drink at the same time as your TB medication. You should also avoid alcohol while on TB treatment because TB treatment is metabolised by your liver and so mixing it with alcohol can cause liver problems.  Alcohol is a major toxin to your liver. All types of alcohol are not good for your liver while on TB treatment. 



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:39

Can I get TB from kissing?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:47

Hi Anonymous, No, you can’t get TB from things like sharing saliva while kissing, sharing food, shaking hands or even sharing toothbrushes. You can get TB from breathing in air which is breathed out by someone with TB



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:38

If I stop taking my treatment, will I get TB again?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:48

It depends on a few things. There is more of a chance of getting TB again if you are HIV positive and you have a low CD4 count (that means your immune system is not too strong). If you don’t finish your medication, don’t take it every day, or smoke or drink during your treatment, it could be easier for the TB to come back. Being around people who have TB but are not on treatment can also put you more at risk. If you notice any symptoms of TB, go to your doctor or nurse at the clinic right away to get tested.

Check out our article “Can you get TB more than once?” for more information. 



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:37

Does it take longer to cure TB if you are HIV positive?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 14:10

People with HIV respond the same as HIV negative people when they are on the correct treatment. It is important to get treated for HIV and for TB. Once you are on treatment your TB can be cured. 



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:34

What are the different stages of TB?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 14:02

There are three different kinds of TB:

·         The common drug-sensitive TB which is usually cured after 6 months of treatment;

·         Multidrug Resistant TB (MDR-TB), which needs up to 2 years of treatment and expensive medication and injections; and

·         Extensively Drug-Resistant TB (XDR-TB), which means that only a few, very special medications work and treatment takes a long time.

You can get TB in the lungs, the brain,  bones, liver and intestines. If you have been diagnosed with TB, it’s important to know which kind you have, so that you can take the right kinds of treatment. Ask your nurse or doctor at the clinic if you have any questions.  





B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:27

Does everyone who has TB have HIV?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:37

Hi ZinziM, No people who are HIV negative can also get infected with TB. TB however progresses faster in people who are HIV positive.



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:26

Can I mix TB medication with any other medication?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 14:25

It is a good idea to tell your doctor or nurse about any other medication that you may be taking so they can see it and let you know if it is safe to drink at the same time as your TB medication. 



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:21

Has there been an improvement in TB medication in the past 8 years? What kind of medication will i need to take for TB?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:33

We have been using the same treatment since the 1960s , it’s a combination of tablets that you take for 6 months for most people but some take it for 9 months. It has an excellent cure rate. There has been very little change in TB treatment. There is also MDR TB which Multi-Drug Resistant TB, which was a death sentence 10 years ago but there is now medication for this TB and XDR TB. Both these are also curable. If you take your medication correctly.  



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:17

What are the symptoms of TB?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:19

Hi, Anonymous. You should get screened for TB if you have any of the following symptoms:

·         a constant cough with thick phlegm (mucus),

·         a high temperature (fever),

·         night sweats,

·         losing weight, or

·         feeling tired all the time.



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:14

How did I get TB? Im not HIV positive

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:30

Hi ZinziM, people who are HIV negative can also get infected with TB. TB however progresses faster in people who are HIV positive.               



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 13:04

What should I do when I have been around someone who has TB? I was with sum1 yesterday

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:28

Hi Anonymous, go to your nearest clinic and have yourself tested for TB. This will be done with a TST (Tuberculin Skin Test) or blood test (Quantiferon test). A positive test means you have been in contact with TB bacteria.   



B-Wise User ZinziM 29 March 2017 13:03

If I stop my medication wil I get TB again?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:27

Hi ZinziM, You could become resistant to the TB medicine that you are currently taking, meaning the medicine will stop working. You might need to take different medication – this means taking many pills which have many more side effects.

Here are some ways to make sure you stay on track:

·    Take TB medication every day - exactly the way your doctor or nurse tells you to.

·    Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medication.

·    Write a note to remind yourself. Put it in a place where you won't miss it, like your bathroom mirror or fridge.

·     Even if you start feeling better, don’t stop taking your medication! Ask your doctor before you stop anything.



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 12:52

My cousin tested for tb twice at the clinic an results were negative. But when she went to the hospital the doctor told her she has tb and started her on treatment. Why did she test negative?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:26

Hi Anonymous, people that have a weak immune system (for example someone with an HIV infection) can often get negative TB results even though they may have an active TB infection. This is called a false negative. Often when doctors do X-rays on such people, they find lung TB infection. If you have any symptoms of TB and you have problems with your immune system (e.g. if you are HIV positive), ask your doctor if they can check with an X-ray.   



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 12:51

What I have HIV infection รข?? am I going to get TB?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:32

Hi Anonymous, because HIV makes the immune system weaker, people with HIV infection have a high risk of getting TB. It’s not a sure thing, but anyone with HIV should be tested for TB. If you have latent TB or TB disease, you can start taking treatment as soon as you can.



B-Wise User Motswako 29 March 2017 12:49

Can I get to from kissing

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:21

Hi Motswako, No, you can't get TB from things like sharing saliva while kissing, sharing food, shaking hands or even sharing toothbrushes. You can get TB from breathing in air which is breathed out by someone with TB.



B-Wise User nomkhosi 29 March 2017 12:47

My uncle has TB, should I get tested for TB?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:20

Hi Nomkhosi, getting tested for TB is a good idea, especially if you’ve spent time with someone who has TB. It’s even more important to get tested if you are HIV positive, or if you are having symptoms of TB.



B-Wise User QueenSlayer 29 March 2017 12:45

Im afraid of getting TB, How do I protect myself against getting it?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:19

Hi QueenSlayer, the best ways to keep yourself safe are:

·         Wash your hands often.Be extra careful in TB high risk areas like taxis, shebeens and crowded spaces without good ventilation (free-flowing air).

·         Open windows and doors. TB germs stay in the air after being coughed up by a TB patient so allow free air flow, which takes away the air with the TB germs.

·         Know your HIV status. People living with HIV are more likely to get TB because their immune system (that fights off germs) is weakened. If you have HIV but you take HIV medication, you can lower your chances of catching TB.



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 12:43

What is TB and how do you get it?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:18

Hi Anonymous, TB stands for Tuberculosis. It's a lung disease which spreads from person to person through the air. That means it can be easy to catch. If someone with TB coughs, laughs or sneezes and you breathe in that same air, you could become infected with TB.

There are 2 ways TB can show up. TB can be in our bodies for a long time without making us sick (sleeping/latent TB), or it can make us sick the first time we breathe it in (active TB). Different things can make our bodies weak, such as being HIV-positive, having diabetes, having cancer, being malnourished (not eating well) or even being pregnant. These things make it easier to catch TB.



B-Wise User Anonymous 29 March 2017 10:31

Hi Dr Tibka Is TB contagious?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 March 2017 13:24

Hi Anonymous, Yes it is TB is highly contagious. There is also a chance you will spread TB to family, friends, or anyone else you spend time with, making them sick too. Remember, your TB can get worse and you can spread it even if you are not feeling sick.