Why do young people get TB?

TB is caused by TB bacteria. The risk of getting sick with TB among those with TB infection depends on age. Small children are most vulnerable. After them, young and young adults have the greatest risk. They are active and move a lot in society, so infection also spreads among them more easily.

If you or your friend have symptoms of TB disease, go and get yourself checked and encourage your friend to do so as well.

Can a person who has TB disease have children?

Yes, a person who has TB can have children. Medication for TB does not affect the fertility of a man or a woman. If you are planning a pregnancy, it is better to wait until your TB treatment is finished. When you are healthy, you have more strength to take care of your baby.

If you are already pregnant when TB is diagnosed, medical treatment will be planned accordingly. TB medicines are not dangerous but untreated TB is a risk for both the mother and unborn baby. If TB treatment has gone well, the mother may take care of her child and breastfeed normally after delivery.

If the mother’s TB can spread during birth, the newborn will be given medication to prevent TB disease. The mother can take care of the baby if it has been confirmed that her TB is drug susceptible.

Can TB be spread through a water pipe?

Using a water pipe for smoking is associated with the risk of TB transmission. Transmission of TB is not caused by contact with the waterpipe. TB is spread through the air from one person to other. When the sick person speaks, and especially when he coughs, TB bacteria are released into the air. Waterpipe smoking irritates the lungs and makes the person cough even more. Other people present, can then inhale the TB bacteria in their lungs and get infected.

Is it possible to get infected when travelling abroad?

On a normal city or beach vacation and living in a hotel, the risk is small. During a backpack trip in countries where TB is common, the risk of getting infected is higher. During such travel one often sleeps and spends time with the locals in the same premises and inhales the same air.

Can TB be spread through kissing or having sex?

TB is not spread through sexual intercourse or kissing or other touch. TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. When a person who has TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings, TB bacteria are spread in the air. Other people who spend time with the ill person may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. If the person who has TB (before he or she has started taking TB medicines) has stayed with their sexual partner indoors for long time, transmission is possible. You do not need to worry about kissing on the mouth or cheeks.

Taking TB medicines reduces the risk of transmission rapidly. You can have sex while you are treated for TB. At the beginning of the treatment, you may however, be so tired that sex does not interest you. It is good to tell your partner this.

How can I help my own recovery during the time I am taking TB medication?

TB disease and its treatment can bring tiredness, all kinds of feelings and a low mood. Open discussion and information on TB will give your family members and friends an opportunity to support you during treatment. Small activities and tasks which bring you happiness will also help you get well. People have their own ways and means to get better. Think about and write down those things and people that bring you strength and good feelings. Remember that TB treatment won’t last forever.

Take all medicines regularly. Do not skip doses, even if you feel well and you do not experience any symptoms of the disease. If you doubt or notice any side effects whatsoever from the medicines, always tell your nurse or doctor.

Normal versatile food helps you to recover. Take vitamin D daily, it is important for recovery. Fasting is not good when you are ill. Physical exercise and moving outdoors help you to get better and make your mood better.

How soon can I return to school / study after the drug treatment has started?

Your doctor will decide when you can go home from the hospital. You will continue to take medicines at home. Before you go home, it is agreed where you go to take your medicines daily. In addition, you will regularly visit the outpatient clinic in the hospital, where your treatment and its effect on your health is monitored. This changes your normal daily schedule and requires adaptation and can make you tired.

It is good to rest at the start of treatment. When you get better you will little by little feel less tired. You can continue your school and study as soon as you are able to eat and be active. This also usually improves your mood and helps your recovery. Once you get home from the hospital, you will no longer infect or endanger your friends.