Disclosure: I’ve partnered with DiMe Media to share this important information about tuberculosis testing.
Health has been at the forefront of my mind recently, mine especially thanks to the year of medical issues that just keep coming but it’s also reminded me that my family is not bulletproof; none of us are safe from the effects of not taking care of ourselves.
Health is something most of us take for granted until we find ourselves sick and unhealthy but by then, it’s too late. All this has made me make health a priority in our house again. As my mom says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and boy, was she right.
As a mom, my children come first. When it comes to their health, I don’t want any surprises. I want simplicity so I can focus on what’s most important. That’s why I make sure that they get their immunizations and go to every well-visit. Everyone in our family gets yearly physicals. If any of us gets sick, we go to the doctor because I won’t chance our lives and health for the sake of saving a co-pay. That’s why the morning I thought I was having chest pains, even though I was pretty sure it was stomach related, I went to the Emergency room because I couldn’t chance it. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, better to be broke than dead.
There is now a blood test that can help diagnose tuberculosis infection that is a major scientific advance over the 110-year- old skin test. So, if there is a recommended test for tuberculosis for school-age children between the ages of 5-18-years-old that could prevent the onset of the illness, why would I not have my children take this simple blood test. Granted, I know taking drawing blood on a small child is traumatizing and quite horrifying to watch, for me anyways, if I’m being honest but so is the alternative.
Tuberculosis is not some obscure disease that no one contracts; it’s not like “cooties.”
It’s real and it can affect anyone sometimes there are no symptoms and you don’t even know that you contracted it and other times it can kill you. TB infection, also referred to as latent TB, occurs when a person has the bacteria that causes Tuberculosis in his or her body, but the bacteria are not causing any disease or symptoms. If you are diagnosed with latent TB there is a chance that the bacteria may cause disease in the future, so you are likely to be offered treatment to prevent this from happening. This is most likely what my grandmother had as a child.
TB infection is usually chronic and silent before it becomes active. This inactive carrier state can persist for weeks, months or years before developing into active contagious disease. The disease is an airborne, highly contagious, infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most frequently, TB affects the lungs, however, it can also cause diseases in any part of the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones, brain, organs and eyes. It is an equal opportunity illness.
This is not some obscure disease of the past as many might think. It is a serious disease that kills about 1.5 million people each year worldwide. The key purpose of diagnosing latent tuberculosis infection is to identify who is at risk of progressing to active TB disease.
TB is a major health problem worldwide. Here are some staggering facts to consider:
- 30% of humans are infected
- A new infection happens every 3 seconds
- Every 21 seconds, someone dies of TB
- Primary care physicians can and do make a huge difference in identifying and treating TB infection before it blossoms into active disease. 37 million lives have been saved between 2000 and 2013 through identification of infection and treatment.
My grandmother had tuberculosis when she was a child, only no one even knew about it until she developed lung cancer as an adult and then they saw the scarring. That’s scary. I don’t want to run that risk with my own children’s health.
The TB blood test is the only available method of testing for TB with completely objective results. Other tests, such as the skin test, are subjective and open to visual interpretation. In contrast to the TB skin test, the TB blood test allows you to get accurate results in just one visit leading to meaningful benefits – more ease, more time, more certainty.
This new tuberculosis blood test is an easy and simple process that gives accurate results, so why wouldn’t we do it for our children?