TB or tuberculosis is a chronic respiratory disease caused by a bacterial infection. Indonesia ranks second as the country with the most cases of pulmonary tuberculosis after India. The latest data from the Indonesian Health Profile belonging to the Ministry of Health reports 351,893 cases of TB in Indonesia in 2016. TB is a highly contagious disease. Check out how to prevent transmission of TB below.
How do you spread TB?
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, spread when TB sufferers expel phlegm or saliva from their mouths that contain the germs into the air - for example when coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, spitting, or even laughing - and then being inhaled around it.
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health's National Tuberculosis Control Guidelines, in one cough a person can usually produce about 3,000 splashes of saliva.
Germs coming out of the cough of TB sufferers can survive in damp air that is not exposed to sunlight for hours, even weeks. As a result, everyone who is close to and has contact with TB patients can directly inhale it and eventually contract it.
TB is very contagious, but not directly. Once inside the body, these bacteria can "fall asleep" long ago in the "dormant" phase - they remain in the body, but do not actively breed and attack the body. In fact, most people have been exposed to TB germs during their lifetime, but only 10% of people infected with TB will actually suffer from this disease.
Who is most at risk of contracting TB?
One of the determinants of a person can get TB or not is how strong the body's immune system is and how clean it is. The stronger your endurance, the less likely it is to contract TB.
People whose immune systems are weak tend to be more easily infected. That is why children, the elderly, people with HIV or AIDS, people with cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and other autoimmune diseases have a higher risk of being infected with TB because their immune system is unable to fight the growth of TB bacteria.
How to prevent transmission of tuberculosis to healthy people
Even though it is highly contagious, people with TB do not have to and should not be excluded from society. You will not contract TB just by shaking hands or sharing food with TB sufferers.
Here are some ways you can do to prevent transmission of tuberculosis to people around.
1. Shut up when coughing and sneezing
TB spreads through sputum and saliva that comes out of the mouth. So, people with TB must close their mouth when sneezing or coughing. However, don't shut up by cupping both hands . Germs can move to your hands and then move to another person when you shake hands or hold them.
We recommend using a tissue (don't forget to immediately throw it in the trash , yes! Don't throw it away carelessly) or a personal handkerchief to cover your mouth. If it's not there, close your mouth by turning your face to the side of your inner arm or elbow.
Wear a mask when in a public place to prevent transmission of tuberculosis to healthy people.
2. Don't spit or throw away phlegm carelessly!
Similar to coughing or sneezing in public places, even throwing phlegm and spitting may not be arbitrary in public places. The bacteria in your saliva can fly in the air and then be inhaled by people around.
If you want to get rid of phlegm or spit, do it in the bathroom. Flush your spit until it is rinsed clean. If the situation and conditions do not allow you to go to the nearest bathroom, spit in the gutter or the time the water flows.
3. Avoid direct contact with children
As much as possible, avoid getting close or direct contact with babies, toddlers, or children, because their immune systems are still not strong and tend to be weak.
4. Let the sun go into the room
Germs that cause TB generally survive in the air for one to two hours, depending on whether there is exposure to sunlight, humidity and ventilation. In dark, damp and cold conditions, TB germs can last for days - even months.
However, TB bacteria can die immediately if exposed to direct sunlight. So, open your windows and curtains when the weather is clear. Let the sun go into the room to kill the TB germs that might live in your home.
When you open the window, even air circulation can help push germs out of the house so they die when exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun.
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