Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tuberculosis: These Lifestyle Changes Could Lower Your Risk Of Tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis can be prevented by getting a vaccine

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis that primarily affects the lungs. It is a major public health problem worldwide and one of the top 10 causes of death globally. According to the World Health Organization, TB is the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, causing around 1.5 million deaths in 2018. However, there are several lifestyle changes that could help lower your risk of contracting TB. Read on as we share lifestyle tips that will help lower your risk. 

8 Lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of TB:

1. Maintain good hygiene

TB can spread through the air by droplets when someone with the active disease coughs or sneezes. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain good hygiene practices such as washing hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with people who have TB.

2. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help strengthen your immune system, which is crucial in fighting TB infection. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats in your diet. 

3. Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is essential to support your immune system. Getting a good quality sleep helps fight off infections. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You can also work towards forming healthy sleep hygiene habits like keeping electronics out of the room, getting good night light, etc.

4. Manage stress

Chronic stress can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of infections. Incorporate stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.    Make sure to also avoid triggers. Triggers could be situations and things that may be leading to you feeling stressful. 

5. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity can help improve your lung function and boost your immunity, reducing your risk of TB infection. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week.

6. Quit smoking 

Smoking damages your lungs and weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to TB infection. Furthermore, smoking can significantly increase your risk of a number of diseases. If you smoke, quitting can significantly reduce your risk of contracting TB.

7. Get vaccinated

The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can help protect against TB. It is recommended for infants and children in countries with high incidence of TB. However, the vaccine is not 100% effective and is not routinely recommended for adults in the United States.

8. Seek medical help if you have symptoms

If you experience symptoms such as cough, fever, and night sweats for two or more weeks, seek medical attention immediately. If you have been in close contact with someone who has TB, get tested for the infection.

In addition to these lifestyle changes, there are certain populations at a higher risk for TB who should take extra precautions. These include:

1. If you have a weakened immune system due to HIV, chronic illnesses, or medication use, you are at a higher risk for TB infection.

2. Close living quarters such as prisons, nursing homes, or homeless shelters can increase the risk of TB transmission.

3. TB is more prevalent in many countries outside of the United States. If you plan on traveling to countries with high incidence of TB, consider getting vaccinated and taking extra precautions like wearing a mask.

TB is a serious global health issue, but there are lifestyle changes that could help lower your risk of contracting the infection. Maintaining good hygiene practices, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, getting vaccinated, and seeking medical help if you have symptoms are all important steps. 

Furthermore, certain populations at a higher risk for TB should take extra precautions to protect themselves. By taking these precautions, you can reduce your risk of TB and promote overall health and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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