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 accounting for almost half of the total cases in the United States. Unfortunately, this disease cannot be eliminated with people still contracting TB, 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 which is then measured by the doctor. Statcare can provide a safe, accurate and efficient 2 Step PPD Test any day of the week, including holidays, if you think you might have been exposed to someone with tuberculosis. If you’re not sure, 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 designed for people who are at highest risk for getting 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 eliminates the risk of leaving TB undiagnosed because the added round of an additional skin test makes it harder for TB to go undetected. Getting a 2 Step PPD Test is the easiest, most accurate way to understand whether or not you’ve been infected with tuberculosis.
The added step does add extra appointments to your schedule, which can be a concern for some people as many medical offices are closed on weekends and holidays. This becomes even more of an issue as the test may need to be redone if it could not be 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 the nature of the test and that it requires several days to be completed. This isn’t a test that can be administered and read in a quick half-hour appointment. You’ll have to wait at least 48 hours between the injection and finding out your results. Make sure to plan for that timeline when you’re scheduling your 2 Step PPD Test before your first day of work. The test cannot be read after 72 hours so you may want to make sure that the medical office will be open 72 hours from the time of injection. Also, if you get the test done at one practice and then approach another practice to read the results, they may not be willing to read it without proper documentation of where and how the test was performed. At Statcare, this test can be read all 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 that you have never been exposed to TB. This test is therefore recommended for all healthcare workers and people employed in daycare centers and prisons where they are exposed to large groups of people. Without it, there is a risk that your exposure to TB will go undiagnosed. 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 exposed to lately. Obviously, people who’ve spent time in hospitals, in schools or any other area with large groups of people or have recently immigrated from other countries 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, as we mentioned, some people’s skin may have reduced sensitivity during the test even if they have had an exposure to TB.
For the 2 Step PPD Test, your doctor will ask you to return for a 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.
After the results of the second round are read, your doctor will be able to diagnose you accurately and give you a treatment plan if your testing was positive. If it’s negative, you won’t be required to take any further action. Although, it is a good idea to get regular 2 Step PPD Tests, most healthcare workers need to be screened for TB testing annually as they are at high risk of being infected. There are typically no harmful side effects of PPD tests, so you can take as many as you like.
Do I Need a 2 Step PPD Test?
Thankfully, advances in treatment and testing have greatly reduced the number of people diagnosed with 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 been diagnosed before 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 to avoid a false negative read.
See your doctor immediately if you’ve been exposed to 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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