Cat Stevens’ battle with tuberculosis – symptoms of the infection to spot

CDC explains how tuberculosis can be transmitted

Stevens is reported to have been close to death after contracting the infection and was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, Sussex.

But the hitmaker describes his spell in hospital as “fairly brief”. He told The Sun: “I couldn’t do much work for about a year.”

Stevens described how he had to take “terribly large, horse-sized antibiotic tablets”.

But his time out was productive – he began writing songs that “came from an incredibly powerful urge to find meaning in my life and to go in a new direction”.

Years later he regarded his break as a “gift”, adding, “If more people were able to stop and think, they might change the direction of their lives completely”.

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What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is an infection that usually affects the lungs and can be treated with antibiotics. But if left untreated it can be serious.

Symptoms usually come on gradually, but according to the NHS can include:

  • a cough that lasts more than three weeks – you may cough up mucus (phlegm) or mucus with blood in it
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a high temperature or night sweats
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • feeling generally unwell

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If TB spreads to another part of the body, the following symptoms may occur:

  • swollen glands
  • body aches and pains
  • swollen joints or ankles
  • tummy or pelvic pain
  • constipation
  • dark or cloudy pee
  • a headache
  • being sick
  • feeling confused
  • a stiff neck
  • a rash on the legs, face or other part of the body

The NHS advises to see a GP if:

  • you’ve had a cough for more than three weeks
  • you’re feeling tired or exhausted and you’re not sure why
  • you have a high temperature or night sweats that do not go away
  • you often do not feel hungry
  • you keep losing weight without changing your diet or exercise routine
  • you’ve spent a lot of time with someone who has tuberculosis (TB) and has symptoms (for example, you live with someone who has it)

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • you’re coughing up blood or mucus (phlegm) with blood in it
  • And call 999 or go to A&E if:
  • you have a stiff neck and a severe headache
  • it’s painful to look at bright lights
  • you’ve had a seizure or fit
  • you’ve had a change in behaviour – such as sudden confusion
  • you have weakness or loss of movement in part of the body

These symptoms could signal TB has spread to your brain.

Cat Stevens will appear on stage at Glastonbury on Sunday 25 June at roughly 3:15pm.

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