What It’s Like To Live With Tuberculosis In The United States

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  • By Lauren Weber The Morning Email Editor, The Huffington Post

In August 2014, Kate O’Brien, a 34-year-old media producer from Brooklyn, found out she was expecting her second child.

She was ecstatic. But this pregnancy didn’t proceed like the first. For the next few months, O’Brien had a cold she couldn’t shake. She woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. She wanted to blame it on her pregnancy, yet she kept losing weight.

She could barely eat. She coughed up balls of bloody mucus. Her throat burned. None of her doctors could figure out what was wrong.

A physician sent her to Mount Sinai West Hospital in Manhattan in January 2015, when, at five months pregnant, she still couldn’t gain any weight.

“No one likes a skinny pregnant lady,” she said.

O’Brien expected to stay at the hospital overnight. She didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to her 2-year-old, Donny, but she figured she’d be home soon.

She didn’t walk out of the hospital for 75 days.

The doctors at Mount Sinai diagnosed O’Brien with infectious tuberculosis. After a few days in the intensive care unit, she was shifted to a negative-pressure isolation room, which helps contain the infected air. Signs announcing “WARNING: Infectious Disease” were affixed to the room’s airtight set of double doors. And all O’Brien could think about was what this meant for her unborn baby.

The federal policy that governs medical isolation and quarantine in the U.S. applies to just a handful of diseases. Most of them, such as cholera, smallpox and the plague, are vanishingly rare in the U.S. But tuberculosis is not. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 9,563 new cases of TB.

That same year, for the first time since 1992, the number of tuberculosis cases in the U.S. rose, according to the CDC. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported more cases in 2015 than they did in 2014. The per-capita rate of tuberculosis cases has plateaued at three infections per 100,000 people.

Read more: http://goo.gl/wSPDl4

The Dilemma Of Teenage Smokers

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Thousands of people today, including teenagers, are heavy smokers due to various reasons such as nervousness, pressure, frustration and stress. Smoking has claimed and continue to claim thousands of lives yearly that, it became an urgent issue to the World Health Organization (WHO) to institute a “No Tobacco Day” on May 31, 1987, to discourage and eradicate cigarette smoking.

Despite the warning on cigarette boxes, smokers choose to satisfy their desire unconcerned. Cigarette has been known to contain eighteen different poisons. The two most destructive are tar, a carcinogenic or cancer producing substance and nicotine. Some of these attack the delicate membranes of the windpipes and those that find themselves in the bloodstream interfere with its normal circulation.

It’s now like a fashion to see teenagers between the ages of 10 and 15 holding cigarettes at hideouts, in public places and schools. It’s like a competition. Many teenage students are heavily hooked on cigarettes than adults. When one asks any teenager the reason for smoking, they smile away. Those capable of giving you an answer say “It’s pressure and stress.” Tobacco smoking is said to cause many ailments as emphysema, tuberculosis, night sweats, chest pains, wheezing, and loss of weight, cancer and complications in pregnancy.

Since the campaign against smoking began, WHO has introduced many measures to prevent smoking in buses, airplanes, trains restaurants and other public places, but many see this campaign against smoking as a bother or nuisance. They only realize the mistakes they had done when a disease is diagnosed. Cigarette smoking is not an expensive luxury but a slow silent murderer. Apart from the harm cigarette does to the body, cigarette waste dirties the environment. It is a difficult task getting rid of cigarette stubs littered around.

Recommended steps by health specialists to refrain from smoking

A person that gives up smoking does something worthwhile for his health. But many smokers have a real battle to conquer when it comes to stopping the habit. Staying away from other smokers, as much as possible will reduce the temptation to smoke. Instead of smoking, a heavy smoker should rather become a vigorous campaigner against the use of tobacco in any form. This may change the attitude of friends toward smoking.

Taking plenty of exercise, including deep breathing and long walks in open air several times daily, will clean the lungs and improve one’s sense of well being. Eating regularly, and not attempting to lose weight, will gradually break the tobacco habit. A smoker who wants to quit must avoid highly seasoned foods, alcohol, tea and coffee, according to health magazine I read recently. These can easily influence one to crave to smoking.

Drinking enough water at least ten glasses a day, help to reduce the craving for tobacco. Many may not believe this but try and see, as prayer is one of the effective the answers to many problems.