A key to successful TB treatment is the early detection. A patient should realize that self-treatment may lead to dreadful results not only for oneself but also for his/her family (children, elderly)
The World Health Organization defines five key TB symptoms:
- cough longer than 2-3 weeks
- temperature rise up to 37-38°С
- weight loss without any apparent reason
- night sweats
- shortness of breath
In case of the above symptoms one should consult a doctor (therapist, family doctor).
TВ detection is one of the goals of the primary health service. Whenever a patient visits a doctor, the last should question about the presence of TB symptoms.
If having these symptoms, one needs to collect sputum for TB test. Only high-quality sputum collection can provide correct diagnosis and timely beginning of appropriate treatment.
Sputum collection is carried out under the supervision of medical personnel, preceding instructions for a patient. Medical workers thoroughly consult a patient and give detailed answers to all the questions. During the very collection a nurse should not be in the same room with a patient.
The sputum is collected to the special container with a lid.
It is collected in a specially equipped room with exhaust ventilation. A patient is alone in such room, while a medical worker is overseeing the process through the window.
If there is no specially equipped room, a sputum collection can be carried out in a room with open windows or outdoors.
During the sputum collection no one should approach a patient, as this is one of the most dangerous diagnosis stages.
A patient should collect sputum while coughing. Prior to this process, a patient is recommended to rinse the mouth with boiled water. It will reduce the sputum pollution with regular microflora.
To conduct testing 3-5 ml of sputum is needed. There is no sense to collect saliva, as it is impossible to detect M. tuberculosis.
After the sputum is collected, one needs to close the container with a lid, mark it and sent to the laboratory.
While pending the test results, patients are advised to avoid staying in the same room with small children and elderly family members, to comply with cough hygiene, and regularly ventilate the patient's room.
Sputum collection guidance (download poster).