3 Ways to Protect Yourself against Not-So-Curable TB

By Lee Bellinger / December 26, 2013

Another Highly Deadly Bug
Makes Its Way
Across Our Border

Man coughing “One of the most dangerous tuberculosis (TB) strains that the world has ever seen.” That’s how public health officials describe the potentially disastrous bug recently carried into the U.S. by a man from Nepal who made his way into the United States illegally.

This form of TB is known as XDR – extremely drug resistant. It is not something that U.S. officials are prepared to deal with. Had this man not been caught, this type of TB would now be running loose within our borders.

Tuberculosis is airborne and often fatal. Decades ago, medical advances made it possible to treat and cure TB. But doctors never bargained on disease-carrying illegals from far-away lands introducing new and more virulent strains inside our borders.

Over the years, the disease has mutated and now some strains are once again virtually untreatable. Back in the 1930s, tuberculosis sanatoriums were commonplace. With the rise of drug-resistant TB, they may become common again. Treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient, and it can take years to beat the disease. If the disease becomes widespread in the new era of tightly rationed Obamacare, there’s little doubt what tragic fate TB patients will be facing.

In the United States, TB-infected immigrants are put into medical isolation and treated until they can be safely deported. A manageable approach when there are only a handful of cases. But because TB is highly transmissible, a handful of cases can turn into hundreds or thousands in a matter of weeks.

Tuberculosis Treatment:
Medical Advances
Now in Reverse Gear

Just to give you an idea of how serious a drug-resistant tuberculosis infection can be, let’s take a look at South Africa. South Africa’s doctors are seeing unprecedented numbers of cases of totally drug resistant tuberculosis. Successful treatment of the disease has dropped from 73 percent in 2008 to just 53 percent two years later. So in the span of less than five years, you went from a 3 out of 4 chance you’d be cured, to 50-50 odds that you’ll die.

Medical “progress” has been slammed into reverse gear. Those that survive drug-resistant TB have a hard time of it. One doctor who was infected while treating patients lost 30 pounds and nearly died. Fully curing the infection took three years and the side effects of treatment were horrible. He bled from his eyes and his skin began to separate from itself.

Protect Yourself from Deadly,
Extremely Drug-Resistant TB

Doctor with chest xray Tuberculosis outbreaks are not yet widespread in the United States, but more cases are starting to pop up along the border with Mexico.

Drug-resistant TB has become the second most-deadly infectious disease in the world, claiming well over a million lives every year. And I’m certainly not counting on America’s oh-so-politically correct immigration policies and lax border patrols to keep this disease and its carriers out of our country.

Understanding this dangerous disease and how to protect yourself is imperative, as it is only a matter of time before we begin to see more serious outbreaks.

  1. Avoid hot spots: The best way to prevent becoming infected with TB is to avoid hot spots. If you’re a world traveler, be aware of current TB outbreaks and plan your trips for other places.

    In the U.S., TB outbreaks happen, too. Most recently, TB spread through the streets of Los Angeles, from one homeless person to another to another. Pay attention to TB in the news and avoid areas where you may be exposed.

  2. Beware of Hospitals: What outbreaks we have seen in this country often center around hospitals. A hospital creates a prime environment for transmission. Unless you have a true emergency, avoid hospitals. Choose to visit your local doctor or urgent care clinic instead. Make sure your loved ones are aware of this advice, too, for their own sakes – and so you never have to set foot in a hospital to visit them.
  3. Bolster your immune system:People who contract tuberculosis usually have a compromised immune system. Strengthening your own immune system is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from contracting TB. With a strong immune system, even if you are exposed, you won’t necessarily get sick.

    Researchers have found a link between low vitamin D and the risk of TB, so taking action to increase your vitamin D levels is critical to your protection. Sun exposure is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels. Spending as little as ten minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen is enough to give your body a good dose.

    Healthy vitamin A levels are also associated with a strong immune system. People with lower levels of vitamin A are at higher risk of contracting infectious diseases. You can increase your intake of both vitamin A and vitamin D by taking a cod liver oil supplement.

The rise of drug-resistant infections such as tuberculosis is frightening business. But you don’t have to sit by, feeling helpless. By becoming informed about outbreaks, you can avoid exposure. And by boosting your immune system, you can protect your health against this new age of deadly infectious diseases.


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