04 Questions to Ask About TB (Tuberculosis) Testing
Do you have symptoms of tuberculosis? Come to UCare Urgent Care for a professional medical evaluation. We can help diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan unique to your needs. For more information please contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you at Horizon City, TX and on North Zaragoza Rd. in El Paso TX, and Lee Trevino Dr. in El Paso TX.
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Tuberculosis, commonly abbreviated as TB, is an infectious bacterial disease that causes the growth of tubercles in the tissues of the body, particularly the lungs. Although TB bacteria—Mycobacterium tuberculosis—most commonly attacks the lungs, it can attack any area of the body, such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. Tuberculosis is difficult to diagnose with symptoms alone because not everyone infected with TB gets sick (which is known as latent tuberculosis). If exposure to an active case of tuberculosis is suspected, it is imperative to get tested for TB.
The first step in testing for tuberculosis typically involves a physical evaluation. During the exam, a doctor will check the patient’s lymph nodes for swelling and use a stethoscope to listen to the sounds made by the lungs when they breathe. Then they will use a diagnostic tool. Although blood tests are becoming more commonplace, the most commonly used diagnostic tool for tuberculosis is a skin test. To perform a skin test, a small amount of tuberculin is injected just below the skin, typically on the inside of the forearm. Within 48 to 72 hours (two to three days), a healthcare professional will check the patient’s arm for swelling at the site of injection. If the test is positive, it will result in a hard, raised red bump on the skin. Whether the test results are significant depends on the size of the bump.
The TB (Tuberculosis) skin test is used to detect an active or latent infection with tuberculosis bacteria. The TB test consists of two appointments. During the first appointment, a small amount of a test substance is injected under the first layer of skin on the forearm. Individuals who have been exposed to TB bacteria will react with a firm red bump on their skin.
If a tuberculosis test result comes back positive, it is likely that the examining physician will order more tests. A positive TB skin test cannot determine when the infection occurred, nor can it tell if it is infectious (can be passed to others).
If you think you have been exposed to someone infected with tuberculosis, call your primary care physician right away. You may have the disease. If you do not have a doctor, call your local urgent care center. To find out whether or not you have it, they will give you either a TB skin test or a special blood test. If the TB test results are positive, you will have to receive treatment. What that entails depends on whether the TB infection is latent or active:
• If the infection is latent, that means the TB bacteria are in your body, but they are not active. In this case, your doctor might prescribe preventative therapy, which involves medications that keep the germs from becoming active and spreading.
• If the infection is active, your doctor will prescribe several different medicines in order to kill all of the TB bacteria. It takes at least six to nine months for all of the TB bacteria to die, which means that you will need to take these medications for this entire duration. Failure to do so may result in a future TB infection.
If you believe you have been infected with tuberculosis, come to UCare Urgent Care and Walk-In Clinic for testing today. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in performing TB tests and can help you determine if you are infected. Call us today to book an appointment, or visit our clinic conveniently located at Horizon City, TX and on North Zaragoza Rd. in El Paso TX, and Lee Trevino Dr. in El Paso TX. We serve patients from Horizon City TX, El Paso TX, Lee Trevino Drive TX, Fort Bliss TX, Mission Valley TX, Resler Canyon TX, Alfalfa TX, Montwood TX, and BEYOND.