Tuberculosis Tests Facts and Myths

Almost everyone will have to take Tuberculosis tests at some point in their lifetimes. For many, Tuberculosis testing can be a scary endeavor, especially since it is surrounded by a great deal of myths and false beliefs. This article, however, will help to sort out the facts from the falsehoods and provide a greater understanding of the common skin test for Tuberculosis detection.

The most common reason that an individual is asked to take the test for Tuberculosis is because the person is starting a new job. This is especially true if the individual will be working in a health care setting, in a school, or some other area where the transmission of Tuberculosis would be excessively harmful. Individuals who work in these high risk settings will often have to take the test at least once a year. Other reasons for having to endure Tuberculosis testing include traveling to or from a high risk area for Tuberculosis or having been directly exposed to the illness in some manner. In some rare cases, a person may be asked to take a test for a reason unknown. If this is the case, the patient should inquire as to why the test is being given, as this can indicate that the individual is in a high risk group for contracting Tuberculosis.

Fortunately, the test will be administered quickly and virtually painlessly. While many people falsely believe the test involves a great deal of pain, it is really just a quick shot. Many people believe that if the injection site bruises, swells, or is painful, that this is an indication of a positive Tuberculosis skin test. This, however, is not the case. This type of reaction is completely normal and is a reaction to the shot itself. The only way to determine whether there has been a positive Tuberculosis skin test or a negative one is to go back to the test performer and have this individual read the results. In most cases, a raised bump will form around the area if there has been a positive result. However, it is important to note that false positives do occur regularly, so repeat testing will be provided in the event of a positive result. False positives generally occur due to misreading of the injection site. Even the most trained professionals can sometimes have a difficult time telling normal bruising or swelling from a positive result.

In the event that the patient does have Tuberculosis, this does not, contrary to popular belief, mean that the individual will not be able to get the job applied for or to travel as planned. Instead, the person must simply have the Tuberculosis treated in full. This can delay plans, but it usually will not stop them completely. Once a person has been treated for Tuberculosis, repeating testing may be required to ensure that the condition does not occur again. Those who have had Tuberculosis in the past may sometimes continue to have positive results after treatment has been completed. Most doctors are aware of this, however, and will have alternate means of testing. Tuberculosis tests can be scary to deal with, they are absolutely necessary for health and safety.

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