Tuberculosis, or TB as it’s more commonly called, is a contagious infection that primarily affects the lungs. In the early 1900s, TB was the leading cause of death in the U.S. Thanks to advances in treatment and prevention, we’ve seen dramatic decreases in cases year after year. However, TB case counts were highest in California, Texas, New York (including New York City), and Florida. These four states account for almost half of the total cases in the United States. Unfortunately, there are still active cases of TB in the U.S., so it’s important to take preventative measures to make sure you remain as healthy as possible.
The best way to determine whether you have TB or not is by taking a 2 Step PPD Test. It uses a Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) injection to get a response from your body. A doctor then measures the response. Statcare can provide a safe, accurate and efficient 2 Step PPD Test any day of the week, including holidays. If you have been around someone with TB, then you visit urgent care immediately. If you’re not sure if you need the test, keep reading. We’ll help you understand the test, what it covers and whether or not you need it.
What Is A 2 Step PPD Test?
A 2 Step PPD Test is for people who have a high risk of contracting TB. Many patients have reduced skin reactivity, so the second step of the test makes it possible to be more accurate with making a diagnosis. In a typical test, a doctor injects a small amount of purified protein derivative (PPD) into a patient. After a few days, the doctor will measure the size of the reaction your skin has to the injection in order to diagnose you. If you’ve had TB in the past, it’s likely that your skin won’t react at all, sometimes resulting in a false negative.
A 2 Step PPD Test is very accurate. The second skin test enhances the accuracy of this test. Getting a 2 Step PPD Test is the easiest, most accurate way to understand whether or not you have tuberculosis.
The 2-Step PPD Test requires an extra appointment, which can be a concern for some people as many medical offices are not open on weekends and holidays. The test may need to be redone if you don’t get into the doctor to have it read in the 48-72 hour time frame. Statcare however makes it easy for you to make appointments on your terms. We are open every day of the week including holidays for extended hours. Our staff can accommodate your 2 Step PPD Test anytime and at any location so you can get your results as soon as possible.
Required Tuberculosis Testing
A few job industries require tuberculosis testing for all employees. Workplaces such as hospitals, schools, prisons and pharmacies are more vulnerable to the quick spread of TB through coughing, sneezing, and even talking.
If your employer requires tuberculosis testing prior to your first day of work, it’s important to remember that it takes several days for results. This isn’t a test that can be done in one appointment. You’ll have to wait at least 48 hours between the injection to find out your results. Make sure to plan for that timeline when you’re scheduling your 2 Step PPD Test. Also, the test cannot be read after 72 hours, So, make sure that the medical office will be open 72 hours from the time of your first injection. Be aware that if you get the test done at one practice, you may not be able to easily have it read at another location. At Statcare, we can read the 2-step PPD test 7 days a week.
The Difference Between PPD Testing and 2 Step PPD Testing
The main difference between PPD Testing and a 2 Step PPD Test is the accuracy of the test results. A negative 2 Step PPD Test is a more reliable screen if you’ve not been around anyone with TB. All healthcare workers and people employed in daycare centers and prisons should have this test. Without it, there is a risk that you won’t know if you contract TB. And without the proper treatment, the infection can spread to other places in your body, like your brain and your spine. Avoid that danger by requesting a 2 Step PPD Test from your doctor.
What to Expect During a 2 Step PPD Test
The actual process of a 2 Step PPD Test is simple. First, your doctor will walk through your medical history. They will also be curious about the environments you’ve been in lately. Obviously, people who’ve spent time in hospitals, in schools or any other area with large groups of people or have recently traveled outside the U.S. are at a higher risk of contracting TB, so your doctor will pay attention to those details.
Next, your doctor will inject your forearm with the PPD. The liquid will stay right below the surface of your skin. The pain should be nothing more than the small pinch of the needle, so there’s no need to worry.
You will then go about your normal daily activities. Your doctor will ask you to return either 48 or 72 hours later so that he or she can read the results of your test. When you return to the office, your doctor will take a look at the injection site. Generally speaking, the doctor is looking for a skin reaction to the PPD, however, some people’s skin may not react if there has been any previous exposure to TB.
For the 2 Step PPD Test, your doctor will ask you to return for the second round of testing anywhere from 7 to 10 days later. You’ll go through the same testing procedure as before. One appointment will be the injection itself and a second appointment 48-72 hours later will be for reviewing the results. The second round of testing ensures that no one is given a false negative diagnosis.
BCG and TB Testing
Most individuals who were born outside the United States have received BCG vaccines. Those who previously received this type of vaccination are most likely to receive a false positive after a TB skin test. Blood tests, on the other hand, are not sensitive to the presence of the BCG vaccine and will generate more accurate results.
Both the skin and blood tests will only check if a person has mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is the bacteria that causes TB. To find out if it is a latent TB infection or an active tuberculosis infection, additional tests, like a chest x-ray and phlegm analysis, are needed.
A latent TB infection is when a person has the bacteria but the body’s immune system is able to fight it off. For those whose immune response is weak, especially elderly people in nursing homes, the bacteria could grow and develop into TB disease.
Do I Need a 2 Step PPD Test?
Thankfully, advances in treatment and testing have greatly reduced the number of people who contract tuberculosis in the United States. However, as recently as 2014, the World Health Organization estimated that 1 in 4 people with TB go undiagnosed. That means, to keep yourself healthy, you should routinely get tested for TB. You definitely need a 2 Step PPD Test if you’ve had TB in the past and suspect that you’ve been exposed to TB again. But even if you’ve never had tuberculosis, you can request a 2 Step PPD Test. This will help you avoid a false negative read.
See your doctor immediately if you’ve been around someone with TB or you start exhibiting symptoms. Some common signs include fever, unexplained weight loss, coughing, and night sweats.
Statcare is open every day, including holidays, for extended hours. If you think you need a 2 Step PPD Test, come in to one of our five convenient locations to start your test. Our trained staff will be able to walk you through the test, accurately read the results, and help you through any necessary treatment plan.
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