Debunking Myths around TB
Tuberculosis is a serious epidemic in India, but very few of us understand the importance of spreading awareness and initiating conversations around it. Consider this situation: What if one of your friends is suffering from TB? Yes, being around a person infected with TB can be risky, but is cutting off that person from your life the solution? No, Definitely Not! This is the time your friend needs you the most.
So, Here’s what you can do to support a friend who is suffering from tuberculosis.
- Give Hope
The biggest myth about tuberculosis is that TB cannot be cured. But like mentioned, this is a MYTH. The truth is that yes, TB is a complicated disease, but with the advance in science and new research, there is a silver lining i.e. TB is curable.
Ensure that your friend doesn’t lose hope, and he/she undergoes proper treatment. Support him/her by finding out the right doctors, authentic information, and help him/her in building a healthy lifestyle. Spend time with your friend in open spaces and check up on him/her on a regular basis. The medication will do it’s work, but you as a friend should be helping your friend during their time of recovery too!
- Bust The Myths
Many believe that only people from the so-called ‘lower’ economic class are prone to diseases/infections like TB. But the fact is that anyone, irrespective of race, class, income, etc. can contract TB. Tuberculosis is also not a hereditary disease that is passed on to the next generation. TB is an airborne disease and anyone can get TB. So do not isolate your friends and loved ones if they get TB, and especially do not judge them.
- Fight the prejudice
Don’t add to the woes of your buddy by bringing in prejudices. A true friend doesn’t care about what society thinks. Isn’t friendship about rising above the noise of others’ irrational and conservative opinions? So, the next time someone mocks or disrespects your friend or anyone who is suffering from TB, make sure you take a stand!
The best thing that you can do for your friend is to be there with him/her without judgement. Listen to your friend at all times. Try and stand up for your friend, if at all he/she faces any kind of prejudice from the society. Educate people as much as possible by openly talking about the myths, symptoms and more.
- Protect Yourself
Like in the case of an emergency, you put on your oxygen mask first and then help your loved ones! In the same way, when around a TB patient you should take all the precautions that you can so that you are healthy and avoid the risk of contracting TB. It is important to be cautious, but it doesn’t mean you don’t support him/her. In fact, it is vital that you are healthy so that you can become a pillar of strength for your friend.
Some of the precautions that you can start taking are:
- Taking care of your hygiene
- Wearing a mask while you are in contact with your friend
- Avoid meeting in closed spaces
- Get regular checkups done
- Khul Ke Bol!
Hushed tones around tuberculosis not only increase the prejudice around it but also isolate the people who are infected from it. Anyone you know or even you can be infected by TB, so it’s important that you educate yourself and others about it. Talk openly about the symptoms, myths, treatment and more.
Some of the Symptoms of TB are coughing for over two weeks, fatigue, night sweats, fever and chills etc. If you feel you or a loved one of yours is showing any of these signs it is important to visit the doctor and get tested. Generally, with medication, it takes around 6 to 9 months to get rid of the TB bacteria and after 3-4 weeks of medication a person is no longer contagious. It is also important to continue the course of medication until completion to prevent TB from reoccurring.
Knowledge is power! Since India has the highest TB burden in the world, it is important we learn more about TB and be there for the people that need our help and support.
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