- Keep your immune system healthy. Eat plenty of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep, and exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week to keep your immune system in top form.
- Get tested regularly. Experts advise people who have a high risk of TB to get a skin test once a year. This includes people with HIV or other conditions that weaken the immune system, people who live or work in a prison or nursing home, health care workers, people from countries with high rates of TB, and others in high-risk groups.
- Consider preventive therapy. If you test positive for latent TB infection, your doctor will likely advise you to take medications to reduce your risk of developing active TB. Vaccination with BCG isn't recommended for general use in the United States, because it isn't very effective in adults and it causes a false-positive result on a Mantoux skin test. But the vaccine is often given to infants in countries where TB is more common. Vaccination can prevent severe TB in children. Researchers are working on developing a more effective TB vaccine.
- Finish your entire course of medication. This is the most important step you can take to protect yourself and others from TB. When you stop treatment early or skip doses, TB bacteria have a chance to develop mutations that allow them to survive the most potent TB drugs. The resulting drug-resistant strains are much more deadly and difficult to treat.