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Friday, March 7, 2014
Living with Someone with Tuberculosis
How do I protect myself from exposure while living with someone who has TB?
As long as the person you are living with is taking the appropriate medications to treat TB, the risk of you becoming infected by sharing the same airspace with them should decrease over time. Sometimes it takes awhile to get back the results of the sputum smears and the susceptibility report from the original isolate, so if there is any question, it is better to continue isolation precautions. Until the person is no longer infective, you can ask them to wear a mask to catch their respiratory droplets when the person is in a common area, and ask them to stay in their own room as much as possible, with the window open if the weather permits and a fan facing out if one is available, to keep the air moving out of their room. If you have any other questions, you should be able to ask someone in the Public Health Department where you live for more guidance about TB isolation.
Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati