My wife has TB in her lungs and is on treatment at home - is it OK for us to sleep in the same room?
Yes, if the doctor's said it's safe for you to be at home with her then it is safe to sleep in the same room. The only time this may not be the case is if you haven't seen your wife for a long time and she was diagnosed with TB in that time then if she has TB germs in her cough, she might be infectious to you. It's important that the doctor looking after your wife knows if this is the case. If you have been sleeping in the same room as your wife all along, then you may have been exposed to the TB germs before the diagnosis was made - and you need to get checked out yourself anyway as a close contact of your wife. Pretty soon after treatment is started people with infectious TB become non-infectious. The 'rule of thumb' on this is two weeks, so if your wife has been on treatment for longer than this then there's no risk of infection.
I have got TB in the glands in my neck. I am on treatment but the lumps will not go away! Will they go away?
TB is a funny disease! Some peoples' lumps, which are swollen because of TB, get bigger despite effective treatment. Sometimes they get bigger again before they actually shrink. The lumps can take an awful long time to shrink back down and sometimes there is a lot of scarring going on so they stay hard and a bit big forever. Usually they shrink almost completely though, but it can take months or even years.
I have had my BCG 20 years ago at the age of 11; will it still protect me against TB?
The effectiveness of BCG to prevent TB has been a controversial topic for decades. This is because the effectiveness of the vaccine varies considerably for reasons not completely understood. For instance, in Britain it produces about 70% protection, whereas in Argentina or the USA, studies showed it offered little protection from TB. This is why some countries have adopted its use whilst others have not. Just as the protection offered by the vaccine varies - so too does the duration of the protection offered. The widely held belief is that BCG is substantially less effective at protecting against TB fifteen years or more after it is given. This doesn't mean, however, that you need to be re-vaccinated! If you live in a community where there is a small number of people with active TB then your chance of being exposed is consequently very low. In addition, the chance of active TB developing after exposure varies - depending upon age. As a rule of thumb you are more susceptible to developing TB at the extremes of age - so it might be that your chances of getting TB are very low anyway.
I am pregnant and have TB, will the tablets harm my baby?
There is no evidence that the drugs commonly used to treat tuberculosis will harm your unborn baby. Some of the older drugs, for example streptomycin should, however, be avoided if at all possible.
I am going to travel in Africa for a few months, do I need to take any TB preventive tablets?
Probably not. Although some parts of the world have higher rates of TB than others, individually your chances of getting TB are very slim. There is a flip side to the coin of preventive therapy, and that is the side effects of the treatment you would have to take. No treatment is without the possibility of side effects and this risk might be higher than getting TB. For some people, however, if they are to be for a long period of time in a country where TB rates are high, it might be worth, on your return, to think about taking preventive treatment. If, for example, you are HIV positive, you should speak to your doctor about these risks.
My wife has TB in her uterus, can I get TB through having sex with her?
It is possible but would be very unlikely. Using a condom might be the best thing to do for the first couple of weeks whilst she's on treatment.