Question: My father in law has tuberculosis and we live with him and I have small children should we all get the shot for it?
Answer: Unfortunately BCG vaccine is the only available shot against tuberculosis. It aids in improving the body’s immunity against the condition but it doesn’t mean you are cent percent protected. You and your children can still be prone to developing tuberculosis, if they are in the same proximity as your father in law.
Vaccine is made from weakened trait of tuberculosis bacteria. Since the bacteria used to prepare vaccine are weak, it does not produce the disease, but instead triggers immunity to protect against the tuberculosis bacteria.Your children are not at a greater risk if your father in law is taking proper anti tuberculosis medicine regularly. However for a greater safety your children should take tuberculosis shot if they have not taken. Once the vaccine is given, the immunity persists lifelong and there is no need for another booster vaccine.
Tips To Prevent Tuberculosis And Its Spread
Here are some simple tips that should prevent the spread of the condition to other family members:
- Pulmonary tuberculosis is spread from air. The germs are spread through sneezing, cough droplets from an infected patient. To prevent its further spread, the patient should take anti tuberculosis medicine regularly as prescribed by the physician. Usually the course of medicines is 6 to 9 months depending on severity and recovery of the patient. Some of the medicines are given for first two months only and then they are stopped. The rest of medicines are then continued for remaining period.
- Tuberculosis is an opportunistic infection and occurs only when the body’s immunity drops considerably. Ensure that your diet is right. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, figs, apricot, etc in your diet. Don’t fast or go hungry. Hunger can result in a fall in the immunity level.
- Ensure that your father in law uses separate towels, cloths and accessories. TB can also spread through these. Wash his clothes separately.
- Keep your children away from your father in law, especially if he still coughs. Tuberculosis spreads through droplets and can be transmitted on to your children.
- Discard the handkerchiefs which your father in law uses on regular basis. Don’t wash them with other cloths. It is best to discard them to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Finally, take good care of him. Tuberculosis is curable and with proper dietary measures he will recover from the symptoms within a few days. The treatment may last from six months to one year depending on his condition. Ensure that he completes the course of treatment or the condition can recur.