Main Street Medical
Urgent Care and Family Practice located in Hilton Head, SC
TB/PPD Testing Q & A
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis, also called TB, is a bacterial infection. Tuberculosis usually targets your lungs, but it also may affect other areas of your body.
You may not know you have TB. Doctors call this invisible type of TB “latent.” Latent means the TB bacteria are living silently in your lungs. In other cases, you may have symptoms of tuberculosis, such as a bad, nagging cough, fever, or chest pain.
Left untreated, tuberculosis can be deadly. Main Street Medical offers the gold standard of tuberculosis tests, also known as TP/PPD testing, so if you have TB you can receive prompt and effective treatment.
What is TB/PPD testing?
A PPD skin test is an effective method to diagnose tuberculosis even if you don’t have TB symptoms. PPD stands for purified protein derivative. You may have heard this test called other names, such as purified protein derivative standard, TB skin test, tuberculin skin test, or Mantoux test. These tests all work the same.
The PPD test looks for signs of tuberculosis by giving you a small shot in your skin. Getting the test requires two quick visits to Main Street Medical.
What happens during TB/PPD testing?
Your provider cleans a small area of your skin, usually your upper arm. They gently administer a tiny injection of PPD under the top layer of skin. You can expect to feel a brief sting from the needle.
The injection causes a bump to form, which usually goes away once your body absorbs the injection.
You return to Main Street Medical’s office two to three days later. Your provider checks your skin to see if you have had a strong reaction to the PPD test.
What if my TB/PPD test is positive?
If your test is positive, there’s no reason to worry — TB is easily treatable these days. The results don’t show whether you have active TB disease or latent TB. To see whether you can spread TB, you’ll need a chest X-ray, blood work, and a physical exam, all of which are available onsite. These added steps help determine whether you can spread the disease to other people.
If it turns out you have TB, your provider at Main Street Medical recommends appropriate medicines to address the bacterial infection.
If you suspect you have TB or need a TB test for a new job or volunteer activity, call today or schedule your visit online at Main Street Medical.