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How Do I Prevent Tuberculosis?

Everyone should cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough in order to prevent the spread of tuberculosis and other illnesses.
Hand washing can prevent the spread of many communicable diseases.
Wearing a face mask can help prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
Coughing can expose healthy people to tuberculosis.
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  • Written By: Matt Brady
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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The best way to prevent tuberculosis is to quarantine the infected person to prevent any contact with others that may spread the infection. When it's necessary for an infected person to be around others, it's best to keep in mind that tuberculosis is primarily spread through the air, by way of coughing and sneezing. Healthy individuals should, therefore, keep clear of sharing air with infected individuals, and those infected should be sure to avoid openly coughing or sneezing and to wear a face mask when around others. Washing hands and other practical sanitary measures are also important.

Tuberculosis is an infection that primarily affects the lungs, resulting in symptoms of coughing and sneezing, among others. The infection is therefore spread most often throughout the air, via droplets that are dispersed when a person coughs and sneezes. The bacteria may hang in the air even after the droplets appear to evaporate, making it critical for healthy individuals to steer clear of the airways of infected individuals. For their part, infected individuals should always wear a face mask to prevent tuberculosis from spreading to others. If one does not have a face mask, they should at least exercise caution by coughing and sneezing away from others and into a cloth, such as a handkerchief or shirt sleeve.

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Another way to prevent tuberculosis is to be wary of contact surfaces that infected individuals may have sneezed on or touched. Sanitizing common-use areas such as the bathroom, or a frequently touched item such as a doorknob, is a good way to prevent tuberculosis from spreading as well. Constant hand washing, by both infected and healthy individuals, should be practiced to minimize the possible spread of the bacteria via contact surfaces or bodily contact.

Of course, the best way to prevent tuberculosis is to quarantine the infection from healthy individuals. This means, if at all possible, restricting oneself to a bedroom until symptoms have subsided. If the infection is severe enough, a stay at the hospital may be required.

As with any airborne infection or disease, any time that an infected individual spends around others drastically increases the odds of spreading the sickness. Once the person feels healthy enough to resume social activity, it would be wise to thoroughly wash and sanitize any clothing, bedspreads, and surfaces that were touched while the individual was still contagious. Taking such steps can greatly help reduce the odds of spreading tuberculosis to others.

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