Tuberculosis : how to prevent infection

Tuberculosis (TB), one of the most common infections in the world, is seen in both adults and children. A communicable disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the symptoms will only show only when the infection becomes active, which may take several weeks. The phase when an infected person does not show any symptoms is called inactive tuberculosis or latent tuberculosis infection.

Though known to infect the lungs, Tuberculosis can infect any organ; and even a person with a healthy immune system has a 10% chance of contracting the disease.

How TB spreads

The bacterium can spread through only people with active TB infections. Sneezing, coughing or even talking can release the bacteria in the air, which can infect people who are breathing the same air.

Common symptoms

  • Cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks with a green, yellow or bloody sputum
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Additional symptoms can also show if the disease has spread beyond the chest and lungs. For example, if lymph nodes are infected, there will be swelling of glands at the sides of the neck or underarms.

Causes of Tuberculosis

  • Travelling/ living in places where TB is prevalent
  • People with substance abuse problem
  • People with weak immunity system and those suffering from grave illness such as HIV
  • Health care workers who are exposed to patients with active TB
  • People suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, malnutrition
  • People who have been using steroids for a long time
  • Pregnant women and people undergoing radiotherapy are at a higher risk than others.

Preventing TB

  • Patients should cover their nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing
  • People who are at risk or in contact with a TB patient should be tested regularly
  • Face masks should be used by healthcare professionals when dealing with patients suffering from TB
  • It is important to take medications as per the doctor’s instructions. It is crucial to understand that if the medications are stopped in between the prescribed course, TB infection can recur.

Lung Cancer: watch out for symptoms

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled multiplication of cells that start off in one or both lungs; usually in the cells that line the air passages. The abnormal cells, which do not develop into healthy lung tissue, divide rapidly and form malignant tumours.

Smoking, though attributed as one of the main reasons for lung cancer, is not necessarily a trigger always. As lung cancer stages advance, symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and bloody mucus become progressive.


  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) or dark colored phlegm
  • A cough that prevails for a long time or gets worse over time
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Respiratory infections
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest

Treatment & Care

  • Lung Cancer Chemotherapy: A variety of chemotherapy medications are used to treat lung cancer
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is a popular treatment for lung cancer, but it does come with side effects.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT), Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Treatment are some of the other treatments for lung cancer.

Several different types of medications are used to combat cancer pain.

Lung Cancer Causes & Statistics

  • It is said that about 90 percent of lung cancer is because of tobacco use. The risk increases with number of cigarettes.
  • Pipe and cigar smoking can also cause lung cancer.
  • Passive Smoking or the inhalation of tobacco smoke from other smokers is also an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer.
  • Asbestos fibers are known to cause lung cancer and is banned or limited at many workplaces.
  • Lung cancer is also influenced by genetics, in both smoking and non-smoking relatives of those who have had lung cancer than in the general population.

Chicken Pox : Be Informed

Chickenpox is a viral infection that causes itchy red blisters all over the body, along with fever. Once a person contracts chickenpox, it is unlikely that it might occur again.


Chickenpox is caused by a virus named varicella zoster virus. Contagious in nature, the infection can pass on until all blisters have crusted over and spreads through saliva, coughing, contact with blisters and sneezing.

High-risk factors

  • Contact with an infected individual
  • Chickenpox is usually seen more in children
  • People with a weak immune system due to any illness / medication


  • Clusters of red/ transparent fluid-filled blisters that appear all over the body
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stomach ache
  • Headache

If you notice any unexplained rash that is accompanied by the above symptoms or fever on yourself or anyone in your family, seek medical help immediately.

Pregnant women should mandatorily seek medical help as chickenpox infection can harm the foetus.

Managing the infection

  • Do not go to office/ public places to avoid infecting others
  • Parents are advised to keep their children out of school and daycare
  • Regular application of unscented lotion
  • Wear loose, soft cotton clothing
  • Maintain good hygiene habits at home to avert further infection
  • Wash bedsheets, bath linen and towels used by the infected person with hot water and disinfectants
  • Fumigate
  • Neem leaves are a natural antibacterial

Antiviral drugs may be prescribed to those who experience complications from the virus, or who are at risk for adverse effects. These patients are usually young children or elderly, or have underlying medical issues. Hospitalization may be needed in severe cases.


  • The chickenpox vaccine prevents chickenpox in 90 percent of children who are infected by it.
  • It is important to be cautious and keep distance by limiting contact with the infected people. This can be difficult as chickenpox cannot be identified by blisters unless it has been contagious for days.
  • Over the counter medications or ointments are prescribed to provide comfort from itching.
  • Pregnant women, children and child care workers need to be more careful as they are more prone to chickenpox.