TB vs The Flu
Choma, do you know the difference between Tuberculosis (TB) and the Flu? The symptoms can be quite similar even though the two are very different. So to increase awareness about TB and to understand the symptoms of TB better, here’s how it is similar and different to the flu.
What causes TB and the Flu?
TB is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which affects the lungs. It is spread through the air when someone who has TB coughs or speaks or sings. This is because TB is a bacteria that is carried in tiny droplets present in a persons saliva. TB is an airborne disease so it’s spread through the air that escape from someone’s mouth. You can’t get TB from shaking hands or using the same eating utensils as someone else.
The Flu, on the other hand, is caused by the influenza virus. It’s also spread through the air, but unlike TB - it can be spread by touching anything that is infected with the virus.
Symptoms TB and the Flu have in common
With both TB and the Flu you might have symptoms such as
- General coughing
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Chills and fevers
- Joint pain
TB symptoms that are different to the flu
- A cough that starts out dry but later produces sputum (which is a thick liquid from deep inside the lungs that’s like a mixture of phlegm and saliva)
- Coughing blood
- Coughing for longer than a month
- Excessive sweating (including sweating at night)
- Hearing loss
- A persistent lump or lesion (especially under your arms)
- Clubbing (like a curling) of your fingers or toes (this is where your nails become swollen, making your fingers look drum-stick like)
- Pain in your lungs
It’s important for TB to be detected and treated very early so that it can be cured. If you suspect that you might have TB because of any of the above symptoms (even if the symptoms feel like the flu), then you should go see a healthcare provider at your nearest clinic, Choma. Your healthcare provider will take you through exactly how the treatment needs to be taken and for how long.Taking your treatment every day is the key to being cured from TB. It’s always better to be safe - especially for the sake of your health.
You can read more about TB treatment and prevention in this article: What you need to know about Tuberculosis
Also read these two articles for more information on TB:
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
Did you find this article helpful? Yes No