Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infection caused by bacteria. It usually occurs in the lungs, but it can spread to other parts of the body. TB spreads to other people through the air. When someone with TB breathes out or coughs, the bacteria can be breathed in by people who are nearby.
Symptoms of TB include a cough and a fever. Your child may feel tired and weak. And he or she may not feel like eating.
Treatment involves taking antibiotic medicines. It's very important to give your child the medicine as your doctor tells you to. It takes a long time to kill the TB bacteria. Treatment can last 4 to 9 months or longer. During treatment, your child will see a doctor for tests to see how the medicine is working. The doctor will help guide you through this long process.
Your child may have directly observed therapy (DOT). DOT ensures that your child gets the needed medicines on schedule. That's the best way to make sure that your child will be cured of TB. A public health official may be involved with your child's care.
Your child will start to feel better after taking the medicines for a few weeks. And he or she may not be able to infect others at this point. But don't send your child to school until your doctor tells you that it's okay.
Other people living in the home should be tested for TB. A positive TB test means that the person needs treatment to prevent active TB.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 3, 2017
John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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