TB, or tuberculosis, is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although it most commonly affects the lungs, TB can also infect the brain, spine, and kidneys. When TB isn’t treated properly or caught in time, it is deadly.
Many professionals, particularly those who work in healthcare, are required to be regularly tested for TB exposure. Their employment is typically contingent on having a negative test. An accurate test performed in a sterile environment is an important part of making sure any infections are spread to other individuals.
How is TB spread?
Tb is spread through the air from one person to another. When someone with TB coughs, speaks, or sings people nearby are exposed to droplets and can breathe them in, resulting in infection. TB is not spread through hand to hand contact, kissing, or sharing personal items like toothbrushes or hairbrushes.
The most infectious form of TB is that of the lungs. When TB is in the spine or kidneys it is less infectious. People at the highest risk of contracting the infection are those who spend a lot of time around infected individuals.
Symptoms of TB
Your doctor will diagnose you with TB, however, symptoms include a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, chest pain, and coughing up blood or phlegm. Other symptoms include fever, sweats, chills, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
TB Skin Test
The TB skin test is used to determine if someone has been exposed to TB. Just because you test positive does not mean that you have TB. It simply means that at some time or another you were exposed to the bacteria. The TB skin test is performed by injecting a small amount of PPD tuberculum under the skin in your forearm. Within 48 to 72 hours you’ll return for the test to be read. A hard, raised red bump indicates you could have TB. The size of the bump is relative to the probability that you have TB.
Your doctor will use chest x-rays and sputum samples to determine if you actually have the disease.
Just because you’re infected with the TB bacteria doesn’t mean you have TB. Not everyone exhibits symptoms. As a result, there are two types of Tb infections: latent TB infection and TB disease. Both can be treated. The FDA has approved 10 drugs to treat tuberculosis.
Usually, treatment lasts for six to nine months and requires antibacterial drugs prescribed and monitored by your doctors. Regardless of what your physician prescribes, it is crucial to take all of your medication exactly as it was prescribed. TB drugs work by stopping the bacteria from multiplying and killing it. If you stop taking them too soon you could have live bacteria in you that multiplies and continues to make you sick.
If you need to schedule a TB test or have questions about treatment, contact us. We ensure all medical tests are performed discreetly and accurately.