Have you got TB?

Do you have a cough that won’t go away?

  1. Do you feel hot and sick in the afternoon? And, do you sweat at night?

  2. Do you feel like not eating? Are you getting thinner?

  3. Do you have a pain in the chest? Or, do you have a pain in the top part of your back?

  4. Are you coughing up blood?

  5. Do you feel weak and tired?

Can you answer yes to one of these questions? If you can, go to a hospital or clinic. You may have TB.


120 000 people in South Africa have Tuberculosis (TB). And only 40 000 of these people are getting treatment. TB is a very big problem in South Africa.


“TB is a slow sickness. Most people who suffer from TB don’t know they have TB”, a doctor told Learn and Teach. “People with TB can’t get better without medicine. People with TB need special medicine.”


“People with TB must go to a hospital or clinic. Otherwise they will get sicker. And they will give TB to other people.”


TB is a sickness of poor people. People who do not get enough food get TB. And people who live in crowded places get TB.


These days the price of food is very high. There are not enough jobs for everybody. And there is a shortage of houses. This means people don’t eat enough food and they live close together. So more and more people will get TB.


TB is a dangerous sickness. Most people get TB in the lungs. But you can get TB in any part of your body.


How do you know if you have TB? If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions you may have TB.


*Do you have a cough that won’t go away? *Do you not feel like eating? Are you getting thinner? *Do you have a pain in your chest? Or do do you have pain in the top part of your back? *Do you feel hot and sick in the afternoon? And do you sweat at night? *Do you feel weak and tired? *Are you coughing up blood?


Are any of these things wrong with you? If the answer is “Yes” go to the clinic or the hospital. Go as soon as you can. At the clinic or hospital, they will check for TB. They will do a skin test. Or they will take a photograph (x-ray) of your chest. The tests for TB are free.


If you have TB, the doctor will give you pills and injections. You must finish all the pills and get all the injections. Otherwise you will get TB again. Some people must take medicine for two years to get better.


If you have TB you must eat well. The food will make you strong. Try to eat things like eggs, meat, fish and fruit.


If you have TB, you can still go to work. You can go to work after a month. Try not to work very hard at the beginning. Rest as much as you can.


People in South Africa will get TB until there is enough food and housing for every­ body. But there are ways to stop TB from spreading.

  1. If you have TB, cover your mouth when you cough. Try not to sleep close to other people. Do this for 2 weeks after you first take medicine.

  2. If one person in the house has TB, every­body in the house must go for TB tests.

  3. Babies must have TB injections. Babies get TB injections free at hospitals and clinics. Babies can still get TB after they get an injection. But they will not get bad TB. And they will get better quickly.

  4. Eat well – eating is the best way to keep TB away.

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