Tuberculosis Information for Kids: Some important information about tuberculosis in kids can help you prevent its occurrence and prompt treatment if infected.
Tuberculosis is a very contagious disease that mostly affects your lungs. Kids are very vulnerable to this infection and can be infected without showing any symptoms. After being exposed to the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes the disease, kids can be infected within 2 to 10 weeks. Whether your kid is affected by the full-blown disease or infection without symptoms, immediate medical attention is a must in both the cases.
Pulmonary tuberculosis infection in kids
- Pulmonary tuberculosis is the initial infection of tuberculosis. Kids infected with this would show a positive skin test for the disease but they would not feel sick, and neither would they spread it to others. X-rays of their chest would not show any signs of infection.
- In some rare cases, a slight cough may be detected along with the possibility of swollen lymph nodes. It is important that they undergo preventive therapy and related treatment immediately to prevent the risk of developing the disease with full-blown symptoms.
- The symptoms of tuberculosis in kids are varying based on the site of bacterial growth.
Common symptoms of tuberculosis in kids
Lungs are the most common site for the bacterial growth that cause tuberculosis. The symptoms are:
- Pain in the chest.
- Severe cough lasting over two weeks.
- Coughing with blood along with shedding of phlegm.
- Night sweats.
- Feeling lethargic.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight Loss.
Prevention of tuberculosis in kids
The ideal way to prevent kids from contracting tuberculosis is to make them stay away from any person infected with the disease. Populations more likely to spread the disease include prison populations, the homeless and those infected with HIV.
Your paediatrician may ask your child to be hospitalised for evaluation, if the tuberculosis diagnosis is positive. Older children may require to be treated as outpatients, with oral medications and being looked after at home. Treatment for tuberculosis usually involves the prolonged use of 3 or more types of medications. Usually the medication course takes 6 to 12 months to complete but that depends on the resistance of TB infection to the child's immune system.
Kids with tuberculosis infections are not as contagious as adults who are infected. Kids don't cough as much and they have smaller lung lesions compared to adults. If the TB diagnosis of your child is negative, it is still a advisable to take every possible preventive measures so as to avoid the disease from spreading, despite the fact that they are not as communicable as adults.
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