Symptoms of active tuberculosis depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs. Active tuberculosis in the lungs may cause symptoms such as:
- A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
- Pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs).
Other active tuberculosis symptoms can include:
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
- No appetite
- Sweating at night.
(Click Symptoms of Tuberculosis for more information on common tuberculosis signs and symptoms.)
Active tuberculosis treatment can be as long as 12 months. The treatment involves taking several different antibiotics.
The most common medicines used for active tuberculosis treatment are:
- Isoniazid (INH)
- Rifampin (RIF)
Taking several medicines will do a better job of killing all of the bacteria and preventing them from becoming resistant to the medicines (see Drug-Resistant TB).
If you have active tuberculosis of the lungs or throat, you are probably infectious. You need to stay home from work or school so that you don't spread the TB bacteria to other people. After a few weeks of active tuberculosis treatment, you will feel better, and you may no longer be infectious to others. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you can return to work or school or visit with friends.
(Click Tuberculosis Treatment for more information about the treatments for tuberculosis. Click Tuberculosis Medications for more information about the specific medications for active tuberculosis.)