If you have TB disease of the lungs, it can spread to others. For this reason, you will be initially treated in a special isolation room in the hospital. The ventilation system of the room is separate from the rest of the ward. Negative pressure is created in the room. This prevents spread of the disease to other patients and staff in the hospital.
If TB bacteria is detected in the microscopic examination of the sputum smear or the chest x-ray shows cavity formation, your treatment will continue in the negative pressure room. If TB bacteria are not seen in the smear microscopy and the chest x-ray does not show cavity formation, isolation can be continued in a regular patient room.
Effective drug treatment usually eliminates the risk of transmission within a few weeks, but sometimes it takes longer. The decision to stop isolation is made by your doctor, depending on your situation.
During the isolation period you will be in a single room. You may not leave the room without permission. The room has a toilet and shower, telephone and TV. Food and medications are brought to the room. You can also bring some personal items like magazines and books or a laptop to your room.
Personnel caring for you will wear respirators. Healthy adults may visit you, but they have to follow the instructions given by health care personnel and wear a respirator. Only short visits are recommended at the beginning of treatment. If possible, you can communicate with family and friends via telephone or internet.
Children under the age of 5 and adults with a weakened immune system may not visit you during isolation. If you have drug resistant TB, visitors under the age of 16 are not allowed.
You are entitled to a sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease for loss of earnings during the period of isolation if
- you are covered under the Finnish National Health Insurance Scheme and
- work regularly or occasionally.
You or your employer can apply for this from Kela with a medical certificate signed by the doctor responsible for infectious diseases.
Coughing can release TB bacteria into the air. When you cough, cover your mouth and nose tightly with a disposable tissue. Put the tissue in the trash after use. If you need to leave the room during isolation, wear a face mask and cough tightly into your upper arm. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria.