Respiratory staff at Scunthorpe General Hospital are raising awareness of tuberculosis (TB), ahead of World TB Day on 24 March.
This year’s theme is ‘The Clock is Ticking’, and health professionals hope the day will encourage more people to come forward for testing.
With TB in the spotlight, Scunthorpe staff decided to share their concerns about the disease and how other respiratory conditions could be missed due to the focus on COVID-19.
Dr Stuart Baugh, a respiratory consultant at Scunthorpe Hospital, said: “While everyone is trying their best to avoid COVID-19, they may be missing the signs and symptoms of other illnesses like TB.”
Signs and symptoms of TB can include: a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, coughing up blood, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, fever, chills and night sweats.
Groups that may be more likely to contract TB are those with a weakened immune system, people living in ‘poor quality’ housing, those struggling with alcohol or substance misuse, and people who have spent time in other countries that have high TB rates.
Andrea Gough, lead respiratory/TB clinical nurse specialist, added: “If you have any symptoms it is important you talk to your GP or nurse. If you are worried or experience these symptoms for more than three weeks. Anyone coughing up blood, however, should seek health advice sooner.”
Screening appointments are also offered to anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case, and to people arriving from those countries with higher rates of the disease.
“It’s crucial people take up the screening appointments when offered,” continued Andrea. “We must remain vigilant to the signs of TB and act quickly if we are going to prevent and control this disease in the future.”