Each year, we recognize World TB Day on March 24. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).
Although tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable, many people in the world, including Nigeria still suffer from this disease. The theme of World TB Day 2017 is “Unite to End TB.” Leave No One Behind’
TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. TB like every other respiratory borne disease is contracted when an infected person dislodges infectious droplets via coughing and sneezing in an unhygienic manner in an overcrowded place. This is why in preventing TB and any other respiratory borne infection like the flu, we advocate cough etiquette for both the sick person and tips for healthy people to protect themselves.
However, if your cough has lasted more than two weeks, please see a doctor and be evaluated for tuberculosis. The diagnostic test is rapid and free, treatment is also free and the condition is curable. Let us unite to end TB, by adopting healthy practices and teaching others, especially cough hygiene or etiquette.
Cough etiquette is a series of actions to take if you are coughing or sneezing, which are designed to reduce the spread of respiratory illness to others. Colds and flu and other infectious diseases like tuberculosis have the ability to spread easily via the transmission of the germs through the air, carried on droplets. If dispersal of these droplets can be prevented then infection transmission can be reduced. Cough etiquette can help to contain infectious respiratory droplets at the source.
When you sneeze, blow your nose or cough into a disposable tissue, and discard the tissue immediately into a bin. If you have to go out when you have a cold or the flu, and you cannot get to a bin to dispose of your used tissues, try carrying a small plastic bag to collect them in until they can be disposed of properly.
Disposable tissues are preferred over cloth handkerchiefs for covering your coughs and sneezes when you have a cold or the flu. This is because a cloth handkerchief can act as a breeding ground for the germs that are causing the infection. Carrying a used handkerchief around when you are sick may spread your germs.
If tissues are not available cough/sneeze into your upper arm or sleeve; avoid using your hands and turn away from other people when coughing/sneezing. Also move away from other people who are coughing/sneezing.
Always wash your hands after coughing/sneezing/blowing your nose. If there is no access to soap and water, an alcohol-based rub may be used. Try to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
REMEMBER “WASH, WIPE, COVER – DON’T INFECT ANOTHER!”