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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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Tuberculosis (TB) - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Symptoms (such as a cough that may produce bloody mucus along with fever, fatigue, and weight loss) that could be caused by tuberculosis (TB).
  • Been in close contact with someone who has untreated active TB, which can be spread to others, or you have had lengthy close contact with someone you think has untreated active TB.
  • Blurred vision or changes in how you see colors and are taking ethambutol for TB.
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice) or you have abdominal pain and you are taking isoniazid or other medicines for TB.

Call your doctor if you:

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ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a rapidly developing, life-threatening condition in which the lung is injured to the point where it can't properly do its job of moving air in and out of the blood. Doctors first recognized the syndrome in 1967, when they came across 12 people who developed sudden breathing problems and rapid lung failure. All of them had similar patchy spots on their chest X-rays. At first, the condition was called adult respiratory distress syndrome, so people...

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  • Have recently had a TB skin test and you have a red bump at the needle site. You need to have a reaction measured by a health professional within 2 to 3 days after the test. This measurement is important in deciding whether you need more tests or treatment.
  • Have been exposed to someone who has active TB.

Who to see

Health professionals and public health agencies can help you discover whether you have tuberculosis (TB). These include:

Health professionals and public health agencies can also help you with treatment. They include:

  • Your local public health department, which often has a TB specialist.
  • Primary care doctors who know about treating TB.
  • Pulmonologists, doctors who specialize in treating lung problems.
  • Infectious disease specialists.
  • Other specialists to treat complications.

If you have multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), you may need to go to a special treatment center that treats this type of TB.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
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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