Over the last two years, there’s been a small, but significant turnaround in the fight against tuberculosis: instead of a decline in cases, they held steady.
It may seem insignificant. For most people, tuberculosis, or the wasting disease, is just something from period romances. Until, that is, you go to the doctor with symptoms of a chronic cough, fatigue, and fever, and they run a test for TB.
It’s a reminder that tuberculosis isn’t just at our door like other headline-hogging illnesses—small outbreaks regularly occur in the US in our most vulnerable populations, then seep inward.
Tuberculosis is madly antibiotic resistant. The few that are used to treat it require heavily supervised, long-term treatment with severe side-effects—that means that an already very contagious disease often goes untreated or incompletely treated when people give up (some states even resort to offering money as an incentive for people to get treatment).
Antibiotic resistance is surging, and tuberculosis is one of the leading examples of how bad this could get (food poisoning bacteria are another). While scientists explore new lines of research for potentially bacteria fighting materials, here’s a few things you can do:
-Take every illness seriously. You might be able to work with a mild cold, but if you rest, you can get over it more quickly and reduce the risk of developing something serious like pneumonia. And you avoid spreading (or catching, by taking others’ coughs and sneezes seriously) something serious—because for people with weakened immune systems, it’s all serious.
-Support your immune system. There’s a lot out there, not just tuberculosis. An extra layer of protection has a lot of benefits. Adding an immune supporting supplement like colloidal silver is a way to be proactive.
-Be proactive with your doctor—you don’t need to tell them how to diagnose you, but you can build them a complete picture of risks that they may not consider. For instance, for tuberculosis, you might consider factors like volunteer work (homeless shelters, soup kitchens), work in prisons, hospital work, etc.. (Most hospital employees are kept aware of the risk, but some volunteers may not be—I’ve certainly volunteered in some odd situations).
-Follow your local news for information about outbreaks. You might be able to make assumptions about where they start, but where they end up can be rural, urban, in schools, sports clubs, offices…
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