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World No Tobacco Day 2020: Avoid smoking to keep tuberculosis at bay

Smoking leads to more than 8 million deaths each year globally. This includes 1.2 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke. @Shutterstock

Smoking is one of the main causes of tuberculosis. As we approach World No Tobacco Day, let us know about this contagious infection.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : May 27, 2020 9:00 PM IST

Tobacco use and tuberculosis has a close association. Many studies have shown that smoking is one of the leading causes of tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organisation, this is a contagious airborne disease caused mainly by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It infects one-fourth of the world's population. But the good news is that, with timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, further spread of the disease can be easily prevented according to this premier organization. WHO Has always actively worked towards the eradication of this disease. Towards this end, the WHO designated May 31 as the World No Tobacco Day in 1987.

The aim was to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. Since then, members and participating countries aim to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and the negative health effects, which currently lead to more than 8 million deaths each year worldwide. This includes 1.2 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke. This year too, the World No Tobacco Day will aspire to protect youth from industry manipulation and try to keep them away from tobacco and nicotine use.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

This is a serious infectious bacterial disease that affects your lungs. It spreads via respiratory droplets that are released into the air when an infected person coughs and sneezes. Common symptoms of this disease include chest pain, cough that lasts for more than 3 weeks and blood in phlegm. You may also experience pain while breathing or coughing. Unexplained and sudden weight loss, fatigue, chills, fever, and night sweats are other indications of this condition. You will also experience loss of appetite.

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Tuberculosis affects different parts of the body. It may affect your kidneys, spine and also your brain. Sometimes, this disease may develop outside your lungs. In this case, The symptoms of the disease vary according to the organs involved. If you develop tuberculosis of the spine, you may experience back pain. On the other hand, tuberculosis in your kidneys may cause blood in your urine.

Treatment options

This is a manageable condition if you seek timely treatment. But unfortunately, now many strains of tuberculosis have become resistant to the drugs that are commonly used to treat the disease. If you have this disease, you must take your medications for many months to eradicate the infection and prevent development of antibiotic resistance.

What to do if you have tuberculosis

This is a contagious disease and you need to undergo a few weeks of treatment with proper TB medications before you're not contagious anymore. So, you need to isolate yourself immediately if you have this problem. Stay in a room with proper ventilation. You can open a window or keep the fan on to ensure proper circulation of air in the room. If you are in company, always cover your mouth when speaking, laughing or coughing. Avoid closed spaces where air doesn't move and wear a mask to bring down the risk of transmission. All this will go am long way in containing spread of this disease.

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