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Tuberculosis (TB) - Home Treatment

Home treatment for tuberculosis (TB) focuses on taking the medicines correctly to reduce the risk of developing multidrug-resistant TB.

  • Keep all your medical appointments.
  • Take your medicines as prescribed.
  • Report any side effects of the medicines, especially vision problems.
  • If you plan to move during the time that you are being treated, let your doctor know so that arrangements can be made for you to continue the treatment.

Healthy eating and exercise

During treatment for TB, eat healthy foods and get enough sleep and some exercise to help your body fight the infection.

If you are losing too much weight, eat balanced meals with enough protein and calories to help you keep weight on. If you need help, ask to talk with a registered dietitian.

  • If you do not feel like eating, eat your favorite foods. Eat smaller meals several times a day instead of a few large ones.
  • Drink high-calorie protein shakes between meals. Or try nutritious drinks, such as Ensure.
  • If you feel sick to your stomach, try drinking peppermint or ginger tea.
  • Ask your doctor when it is safe for you to exercise. When you can go outside, walking is good way to get exercise. Start slowly if you have not been active. Try one 20-minute or two 10-minute walks to start. Slowly increase your time. Try to walk as often as you can.

Emotional issues

Because TB treatment takes so long, it is normal to:

  • Be embarrassed about having TB and worried that other people will find out about it.
  • Feel bad because people have to wear a mask to keep from getting infected when they are near you.
  • Feel isolated and alone because you cannot go to work, school, or public places until you can no longer infect other people.
  • Be worried about losing income or losing your job during treatment. You may also worry about paying for your medicines and doctor visits.
  • Feel guilty about the stress this is causing to family members or friends who are worried about getting TB or already have it.
  • Feel depressed.

Your doctor or health department can help you find a counselor or social worker to help you cope with your feelings. If you cannot afford counseling or treatment, there may be places that offer free or less costly help.

Protecting others

  • Don't go to work or school while you can spread the TB infection. Sleep in a bedroom by yourself until you can no longer infect other people.
  • Open windows in a room where you must stay for a while, if the weather allows it. This can help get rid of TB bacteria from the air in the room.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Until you have been on antibiotics for about 2 weeks, you can easily spread the disease to others. After coughing, dispose of the soiled tissue in a covered container. Talk with your doctor about other precautions you can take to prevent the spread of TB.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 04, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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