What Tuberculosis Patient Should Know About Disease

The first thing a patient with tuberculosis ought to know is that the disease can be cured.

Instead of being discouraged or feeling that he is under sentence of death, the actual diagnosis of the disease should be a signal for courage and hope. The fact that the diagnosis has been made, that the disease has been recognized, means only that all the puzzling symptoms which had been hampering his activities and thwarting his best efforts are things of the past. It means that the greatest of all dangers to the tuberculosis patient—the danger of drifting along—is over, and that the beginning of improvement is at hand.

The second thing the person with tuberculosis should know is that the most important element in treatment is rest. Not climate, not any drug or tonic, but complete rest.

Nature’s method of healing tuberculosis is the process called fibrosis. Which means the filling in of the diseased spots with fibrous tissue or scar tissue. And this can be done only when the diseased spot is at rest. If the connective tissue fibres begin to be laid down and then every little while are broken up by a sudden effort or exertion, the healing process will be indefinitely delayed.

Tuberculosis can, therefore, be treated at home. It is probably better to be in a sanitarium and, if possible, the first part of the treatment should be given in a sanitarium in order that the patient learn the technique, but every essential element of treatment can be carried out at home.

If the patient is careful about the disposal of sputum and the observation of ordinary cleanliness about personal articles, such as forks, spoons, plates, clothing, etc., there is no danger to other members of the household from having him in the house.

How long should treatment be kept up? In all cases six months. In most cases a year. In some cases two years.

How much does sanitarium treatment cost?

The cost of treatment in private sanatoria ranges from $25 to $50 a week. To get proper conditions at a health resort will demand $75 to $125 a month. There are a few semi-charitable sanatoria where the rates are from $7 to $15 a week. In city, county or state hospitals the rate is usually from $4 to $15 a week, but, in almost all, patients who cannot afford this are cared for free at public expense.