Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially life-threatening, airborne bacterial infection that is found worldwide. The treatment is lengthy, but if you stick with it and take your medications the way you should, you can beat the disease and save your life in the process.
The goal of TB treatment is to completely destroy all the bacteria, and only the full course of medication will do that. TB treatment takes anywhere from six to twelve months and if you don’t respond to initial treatment with antibiotic medications, you may need intensive treatment for as long as two years. It is therefore imperative that you take your medication every single day without fail or the disease can continue to progress.
Once you start feeling better, you may be tempted to set your medications aside and forget about them or to skip a day or two here and there thinking that it won’t make much difference. But this can allow the TB bacteria in your body to become resistant to the antibiotics, leaving you with drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is even more dangerous.
Not taking TB medications as prescribed by your health care provider can make your illness contagious. You will not only be endangering your own health but you will be putting the lives of others at risk as well. You could easily pass the infection on to your family members, loved ones, or anyone around you.
If you should forget to take your medications for one day, you can usually take your next regularly scheduled dose as normal. But if you’ve forgotten to take your medication for two days or more, you’ll need to call your doctor for instructions on how to best take care of the situation.
To help you take your TB medications every day without fail:
- Get a day-of-the-week pill organizer. Load it up once a week and you’ll always know for sure if you’ve taken your medications on any given day, rather than relying on memory.
- Take your medication before you brush your teeth or climb into bed so that it becomes just another healthy habit.
- Set an alarm on your watch or cell phone to remind you to take your medication, or leave a note on your bathroom mirror.
It can be overwhelming to deal with your tuberculosis all on your own. You’re faced with a potentially deadly infection that requires immediate and consistent treatment to control. Ask your friends and family to help you stay focused on your health and to check that you take your medications as you should.