Symptoms of tuberculosis (TB)
Learn about the symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), what to look for and what to do if you become ill.
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What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
TB mainly causes symptoms in the lungs and airways. It can also affect other parts of your body, such as your:
- lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped organs found throughout the body that help the body recognize and fight germs)
About 90% of people who become infected with TB do not develop the disease. This is called latent tuberculosis. They:
- do not feel sick
- have no symptoms
- do not spread TB to others
Those who do get sick have active tuberculosis. The symptoms of active TB include:
- a bad cough that:
- lasts longer than 2 weeks
- makes you cough up blood sometimes
- makes you cough up phlegm sometimes (thick liquid that comes up from your lungs or airways)
- chest pain
- weakness or tiredness
- weight loss
- a lack of appetite
- night sweats
In severe cases, the disease may lead to death if untreated.
What do you do if you become ill?
Call your health care provider if you:
- have any of the listed symptoms
- think you may have been exposed to TB
If you have TB, you may have spread it to other people without knowing it. Your health care provider will talk with you about the people you spend time with. This will ensure they also get tested.
Treatment will help prevent the spread and/or worsening of the illness.
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