When you plan to work in certain occupations or for particular employers, you may need a TB test to determine if you have tuberculosis because it is a contagious condition. This type of tuberculosis testing procedure is offered at our urgent care center and can require two visits.
If you work for a medical facility, at homeless shelters, or care for children, then you may need a TB test. If an employer has provided specialized paperwork, then bring it along to your appointment, and also, make sure to bring along your health insurance information because the tuberculosis test is often covered by your insurance plan.
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that primarily affects the lungs, and if you work closely with individuals in settings such as preschools or nursing homes, then you could be at high risk for the bacterial infection and could expose someone else to this health condition. In addition, since you are also exposed to the pathogens that cause tuberculosis, so your employer may request a new TB test once a year to determine if you are healthy.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that spreads from the droplets that are produced by sneezing and coughing. In the past, this was a common ailment in the United States that led to death. Today, it rarely occurs.
It can take many years for an infected individual to develop symptoms of tuberculosis, so early TB testing is vital. Some of the risk factors of tuberculosis include a weaker immune system, contact with people who have tuberculosis, or travel to a country where tuberculosis is common.
The symptoms that can occur with tuberculosis include unexplained weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, and fever. Eventually, you will develop a cough that often produces bloody mucus. If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you’ve been exposed, your healthcare provider will likely order a TB test.
There are two types of TB tests: a TB skin test and a TB blood test.
TB skin testing is a simple test that involves sanitizing a small area of your skin on the inner forearm. The physician will inject a tuberculosis antigen into your skin with a tiny needle. The test will take less than five minutes. Avoid touching the location of the injection, and also, don’t cover it with a bandage. You must return to the urgent care center within two to three days so the physician can look at the injection site.
The blood test is also called interferon-gamma release assay or IGRA. During the test, a physician will draw your blood and send it to a laboratory for analysis and results. This type of TB test is recommended for patients who have received the TB vaccine or who cannot make time for the two visits that come with the skin test.
For the skin test, you test positive if you develop a red hard bump on your skin. It means you may have a latent TB infection or active TB disease.
For the blood test, if you have a positive TB test, then the physician will require other blood tests and a chest X-ray. Once those test results come back, then they will make a diagnosis. If the test is negative, then you likely do not have the tuberculosis infection (also known as mycobacterium tuberculosis).
If the TB test results come back with a positive result, don’t worry. Today, there are antibiotics to cure tuberculosis.
If you need to get a TB test, come into WellCare Urgent Care Center in Grand Rapids today. You can book a same-day appointment at our Cascade and Leonard locations online.