Many people today don't remember the seriousness of tuberculosis infection. Due to proactive medical interventions in our country, the highly contagious bacterial infection has been in decline for decades. However, according to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis ranks alongside HIV as the world's most deadly infectious disease. TB bacteria are spread through the air when a person that is infected sneezes, coughs, spits or laughs. Typically, a healthy person has to be in close contact for a long period with someone who is infected with the disease. There is a distinction between being infected and having an active case of tuberculosis. Purified Protein Derivative or PPD skin testing (often called a TB Skin Test) is the first line defense for identifying the disease. A measured amount of protein is placed under the top layer of skin on a patient's forearm. If a bump about the size of a pencil eraser appears, the individual probably has TB infection.
A positive result after PPD skin testing does not mean you have a contagious or active infection. In addition to a TB skin test, other tests may be used for confirmation of tuberculosis disease. Some of the symptoms of active TB include:
- Chest Pain
- Cough Lasting 3 Weeks or More
- Coughing Up Blood
- Night Sweats
- Pain with Breathing
- Pain with Coughing
- Unintentional Weight Loss
A positive result using PPD skin testing may occur from two to twelve weeks after exposure to the infection. Since the risk of developing an active TB infection is at its peak within the first six months, it is important that you schedule a TB skin test in a timely manner. This is especially true for anyone who has symptoms or chest X-ray results that are suspicious. Although pulmonary tuberculosis can go away on its own, it can also return. When medicines are properly administered, the vast majority of TB cases can be cured.
If you have a weakened immune system or travel to countries where tuberculosis is prominent, don't take chances with your health. Get a TB skin test. Use this website's Request An Appointment feature to schedule PPD Skin Testing in Orlando.