Tuberculosis Vaccine: Why is It Imperative?
Tuberculosis is a pretty serious infectious disease and can attack many parts of a human body, especially their lungs. It’s a common knowledge that tuberculosis vaccine is a must and is usually given at early age. Right now, the only tuberculosis (TB) vaccine available is the Bacille Calmette-Gurin BCG vaccine which is relatively cheap and safe. Giving BCG vaccine to children has proven to have positive results for it can give a really great protection against the disseminated forms of tuberculosis in children including TB meningitis.
How is Tuberculosis Spread?
The bacteria causing this are spread from one person to another through the air. Basically TB bacteria will travel in the air when a person with TB disease in the lungs coughs, speaks, sneezes or even sings. The bacteria will remain in the air for a few hours depending on the environment and anyone who breathes the air contaminated with these TB bacteria will most likely become infected. However, tuberculosis can’t be spread by sharing drink or food, shaking hands, touching toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing. But since air is invisible and one can’t never really tell whether the air has been contaminated with TB bacteria, it is always a good idea to prevent by getting tuberculosis vaccine.
How Should One Use this Medicine?
BCG vaccine is usually given to children at early age but persons at high risk of developing TB disease may receive this too. Furthermore, BCG is also useful for treating bladder cancer and bladder tumor. It is advisable to ask your doctor or a pharmacist for information because this medicine can be prescribed for other uses as well.
When BCG is used to treat TB disease, it’s injected into the skin then the patient is told to keep the vaccination area dry for 24 hours and keep it clean until vaccination area in the skin looks like the other area of the skin. The vaccine is usually given only once but in some cases one may receive another vaccination should there be not a positive response within 2 or 3 months. Responses are measured by a tuberculosis skin test.
Things to Look for before Vaccination
Before you receive a BCG vaccine, you should:
- Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any kind of drugs or BCG vaccine
- Tell your doctor all prescription or nonprescription medication you’re taking such as antibiotics, steroids, cancer chemotherapy agents, vitamins or TB medications
- Tell your doctor if you have a positive TB test or recent smallpox vaccination
- Tell your doctor if you have cancer, immune disorder, infection, or fever
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to get pregnant, or currently breastfeeding.
You might experience some side effect after getting BCG vaccine. If any of the following symptoms doesn’t go away for quite a long time, you should consult your doctor immediately.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Blood in the urine
- Upset stomach
- Small red spots at the area of injection (they normally disappear within 6 months)
- Painful and frequent urination
Tuberculosis vaccineis a must for every individual. As the saying goes “better to prevent than to cure” fits with this very well