Tuberculosis (TB) care during COVID-19
2020 hum sab ke liye ek bahut hi mushkil year raha hai. COVID 19 pandemic ne humein har tarah se challenge kiya hai, leaving us isolated from family and friends, and forcing us to adjust to a “new normal”, jo humne kabhi socha bhi nahi tha.
During these times, bahut zaroori hai yeh yaad rakhna, that we are not alone – Haan, hum zaroor apne apne homes mein khud akele isolate ho rahe honge, but we can definitely get through this together with the support of our family and friends.
Waise, friends aur support structure se yaad aaya – MTV Nishedh, aur humara favourite gym duo Vicky aur Bunty – Do aise friends jo tuberculosis (TB) ke apne ongoing battle se deal kar rahe the. Which makes us wonder… Wo iss waqt TB se kaise deal kar rahe honge, especially with the threat of COVID-19 also being there?
2020 mein life got more complicated, especially unn logon ke liye, jo ya toh TB se already diagnosed the, ya jinhe laga ki unhe TB ho sakta hai aur iska test karwana chahte the. Not only could TB patients and even survivors be uniquely vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19, but the diversion of health resources to COVID-19 has made care more difficult to access. Aur lockdown ki wajah se, much needed social support bhi milna mushkil ho gaya tha.
This is heightened by the fact that, unfortunately, zyadatar log iss beemari aur uske phailne ke bare mein bahut kam jaante hain, and the myths about TB continue to spread, along with the disease.
MTV Nishedh caught up with Dr. Alpa Dalal, a pulmonologist and TB expert practicing in Mumbai, COVID-19 mein TB care ko paane ke bare mein humare kuch sawaal answer karne ke liye
How do I know my cough could be TB?
COVID-19 and TB can cause similar respiratory symptoms – yani cough, fever, shortness in breath aur weakness. Early testing bahut hi zaroori hai, taaki COVID-19 ya TB sahi waqt par detect ho, aur acche se manage ho paaye.
COVID-19 aur TB mein sabse bada difference yeh hai, ki TB ki cough productive hoti hai, yani it produces mucus and is wet, aur yeh chronic hoti hai, jo teen hafte se zyada chalti hai, jabki COVID-19 mein jo cough hoti hai wo hai dry cough. TB ki cough shuru shuru mein dry cough ho sakti hai, par bahut jald wo wet cough mein badal jati hai.
Agar aapko koi bhi symptom hai, apne physician ko contact zaroor kijiye, so that they can further assess the situation, aur aap unki advice ko follow kar sake. Ye janna bahut hi important hai ki har tarah ka fever COVID-19 nahi hota hai, isliye it is advisable not to avoid seeking medical help because of the fear of COVID-19.
If you have any symptoms, and test negative for COVID-19, bahut zaroori hai ki you contact your doctor and get tested for TB immediately. TB is a curable disease. Remember, if you’re on regular TB medication you will eventually stop being infectious to other people, so the sooner you start your TB treatment the less people you will infect.
So the sooner you start your TB treatment, the less people you will infect. Pandemic mein, COVID-19 ke darr se, do not avoid visiting the hospital or medical facilities, because you may miss getting diagnosed with TB, jo correct aur timely treatment ke saath curable hai.
TB testing aur treatment free-of-cost available hain at government facilities in India. If you think you or someone around you may have TB, toh aap National TB Helpline toll free number 1800-11-6666 par call kar sakte hain, for initial guidance.
TB patients ko COVID-19 mein wahi precautions leni chahiye, jo sabko leni chahiye, jo mainly hain –
- Social distancing: maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others
- Practice proper hand hygiene: haathon ko regularly wash karen with soap or an alcohol based sanitizer;
- Wear masks
Impact of COVID-19 on TB
Ek global modelling study ne suggest kiya hai that, with every month of the lockdown, TB is expected to claim an additional ~70,000 deaths in India during 2020-2025. The sad reality is, ki COVID 19 world mein TB testing aur treatment ka access pana thoda mushkil ho gaya hai. But what is important to note is that HELP IS THERE- aapki determination, proper follow up aur apne loved ones ke support se, aapko zaroor madad mil sakti hain.
In case wo jagah bandh hai jahaan se aap apna TB medication liya karte the, then you should visit the government facility that is nearest to you. Kuch logon ke liye yeh thought kaafi scary ho sakta hai, lekin trust us, it will be worth it in the end. Aapki health hi aapka main focus hona chahiye.
Government TB clinics, lockdown mein TB patients ki help karte aaye hain:
- Injections lene wale patients ko pills diye gaye hain, so that it becomes easier to continue treatment
- Clinics ek hi time par zyada medication de rahe hain, taaki patients ko baar baar clinic visit karna na pade.
- A TB coordinator is assigned to you, jo aapko recovery mein poori tarah se support karte hain, aur wo aapki TB ki journey mein aapke best friend se kam nahi hain.
What should I do if I am told I have TB?
If you test positive for TB, don’t panic! Prescribed course of medicine ko poora kijiye, and keep in regular touch with your doctor. Yaad hai Vicky ko kya hua tha? Agar aapka TB treatment poora complete nahi hota hai, toh aapko drug resistant TB jaise MDR ya XDR TB ho sakta hai, jo dangerous bhi hai, and is more difficult to cure. Keeping a large stock of medicines for longer use is also advised as prescribed by your treating doctor.
Responsible hokar precautions lene se aur treatment complete karne se, aap khud ko aur apne loved ones ko safe rakh sakte hain. Jaisa mummy kehti thi -Eat healthy, live healthy, and maintain proper hygiene practices! Yeh sab karne se, dono diseases se bachne ke liye aapko ek Suraksha Kavach ya safety belt mil sakta hai.
And if you are still curious about how Vicky is doing during these times, aapke liye kuch special hai! Watch MTV Nishedh Alone Together, the new web series based on the characters of MTV Nishedh during the times of COVID-19, a new episode every Friday at 5pm on @MTV Nishedh YT, IG, FB & @MTV India YT, IG, FB channels.
Kyunki hum COVID-19 mein akele zaroor reh rahe honge, but it is important to find comfort and support, alone together.