Bontoc, Mountain Province – The number of individuals in the province diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) reached 63 in the first quarter of this year.
Out of the 63 individuals diagnosed with TB, Paracelis has the most, with 19 cases, followed by Bontoc with 14. Bauko listed eight, Sadanga recorded five, Natonin, Sabangan, and Tadian had four each, three in Besao, and two in Sagada. It is only in Barlig that no case of TB was recorded.
National Tuberculosis Control Program Coordinator (NTCPC) in Mountain Province Norma Kalang-ad, noted an increase of TB cases in the province compared to last year. In 2014, a total of 245 individuals were diagnosed with TB, Paracelis listed the highest with 76 cases. Bauko recorded 45, 35 in Bontoc, 29 in Tadian, 20 in Sadanga, 14 in Sabangan, 11 in Natonin, seven in Besao, six in Barlig, and four in Sagada.
Kalang-ad explained that TB is an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, known as Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB). Others may also have TB in the bones, meninges, joints, genito-urinary tract, liver, kidney, intestines, and heart that is referred to as extra- pulmonary Tuberculosis. The signs and symptoms of TB are productive cough for two or more weeks, chest and back pains, blood-streaked sputum or phlegm, fatigue, loss of weight, fever, and night sweats. With this, Kalang-ad advised those who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of TB to consult a doctor at the earliest possible time for their own health and welfare, and so as not to infect others. Also, free medicines are provided once the patient avails of the health services from health centers.
She further elaborated that Pulmonary TB is highly infectious as it can easily be transmitted from one person to another. The TB bacilli is spread through coughing, sneezing, and spitting. Anybody can be infected with TB, but most susceptible are children, the elderly, malnourished people, people who lack rest, alcohol drinkers, smokers, people with diabetes or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and people in crowded or poorly- ventilated places.
However, getting sick of TB can be avoided by covering your nose when somebody is coughing or sneezing, avoid staying in crowded places, having plenty of rest, eating nutritious food, staying in a well-ventilated room, and keeping the environment clean. On the part of TB patients, the spread of the infectious disease can be prevented by covering their noses when coughing or sneezing, avoid spitting anywhere, using a covered container for spitting and disposisng of it properly, staying in a well-ventilated room, having plenty of rest, taking medicines regularly during the duration of treatment, and consulting the doctor for regular medical check-up.
Kalang-ad also clarified that TB can be treated; patients need to take in a combination of medicines for at least six months. This is to effectively kill the TB bacteria and avoid the occurrence of drug-resistance. Patients being treated for TB mostly likely will have better appetite, gain weight, less fever and less fatigue, increased body strength, and less productive cough.
With the observance of National Tuberculosis Awareness Month this August, Kalang-ad urged the public to take good care of their health by following the preventive measures and practicing a healthy lifestyle to avoid getting sick of TB. // Alpine L. Killa