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What Does the Tuberculosis Skin Test Results Look Like???

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If you get a skin test for tuberculosis, what is your skin sopposed to look like if you are infected or have it and what does it look like if you are fine?
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First Helper rhysjanus
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replied May 24th, 2006
Re: What Does the Tuberculosis Skin Test Results Look Like??
ccn0409 wrote:
if you get a skin test for tuberculosis, what is your skin sopposed to look like if you are infected or have it and what does it look like if you are fine?


whether you have the bacteria present in your skin or not, you will get a round spot with a redish color after the ppd test (skin test). The person that is infected will develop a little bum, the skin of the color area will rise above your normal skin level. And this how the doctor finds out, he/she will take a marker and draw straight lines on the left and right hand sides of the color spot.
Then the doctor will try to draw a straight line through the colored area as he/she did for the other two times before. If a straight line can be drawn without any problems then you are fine you do not have the bacteria that causes tb. But if the doctor draws a straight line with an arc in the middle then you will told that you have the bacteria present in your skin that causes tb.
At this point this test does not prove if you are contagious or not, you will be sent for chest x-ray. If the result of the x-ray is negative then what that means is you have the bacteria present but it is asleep (not active).
If the chest x-ray result is positive then you have active bacteria and you're consider to be contagious.

If you fall into the first category you will have to make a decision. To either take a specific antibiotic for 9 months or you can take a chance and live your life and not bother to take the antibiotics.
If you decide to go for the second option there is a 10% chance that the bacteria will be awaken and in the near future and you will develop tb.
If you decide to take the antibiotics there is a 1% chance that the antibiotics may effect your liver in a negative way.
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replied June 4th, 2006
Re: What Does the Tuberculosis Skin Test Results Look Like??
ccn0409 wrote:
if you get a skin test for tuberculosis, what is your skin sopposed to look like if you are infected or have it and what does it look like if you are fine?
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replied November 20th, 2006
I had a positive skin test and took the medication for 9 months and it wasnt a big deal I had no side effects from it which was good
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replied September 14th, 2008
When I was negative for TB, I would get a TB test (in elementary school) and it would go away by the third day and you couldn't even tell I had a test. In fact, they usually circle it so they know where it is. I don't know if they are using another form of the test, but the nurse drew lines to my son's test and didn't draw them through it at all but stopped at the edge and measured it. She claimed it was negative though it looked quite positive to me. He also got it worse later. I don't know if they are using different stuff now that causes redness, but that would be stupid since what you are looking for is redness---an immune response. How do they know what component of the shot is causing the redness. The sad thing is that many nurses with large red swollen reactions are continuing to treat patients, believing that they are negative but we don't know for sure.

I know that among all the children for years of TB tests, we all did not get any redness and you couldn't tell where the shot had been given. In fact, my boyfriend had one recently and they circled it and if they hadn't, you wouldn't have known where it was given. Apparently alot of people are "allergic" to the ppd test and get redness and swelling that resembles identically a positive result, but which nurses or their assistants feel are actually negative. And once they note the redness down, if you are positive, it will be harder to get someone to actually go ahead and give you the positive reading.

Redness is clearly a sign of an immune response. How do they know what you are responding to? One nurse claimed this redness was a reaction to the liquid the bacterium are mixed with, but it would be simple to test that by giving a second shot of just the liquid with no bacterium in it to confirm which the person is reacting to. In fact, it is a guess on the part of the nurses who were discussing it.
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replied January 14th, 2009
The point is that the tuberculin reacts with the disease present in you body already and builds up an area of induration. that being said, whether the site is red as a fire truck or white as the driven snow, it's the induration (solidness like an eraser under the skin) that determines the positiveness of the result.

Currently (2008 and 09) your TB history, likelihood of exposure and size of that induration are all taken into account when determining whether a result is positive or not.

I am writing this as a nurse who just recently had a positive skin test, negative x-ray, and a positive quantiferon gold test. currently I am waiting for my local health department to make a recommendation for or against treatment based on my history and likelihood of exposure.
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Users who thank rhysjanus for this post: Karan04 

replied January 26th, 2009
Well, they seemed unclear what the induration was with regard to my son. With me, and what I was taught as a medical assistant, it was a red raised area with an edge around it, the thickness of a coin about the size of a quarter and then the tissue underneath was a big swollen lump. They took a card and rubbed up to the edges of the raised area and marked it and measured it and said it was positive.

My son had the same reaction, though his arm was really swollen more, probably because I was pregnant with him whe I had TB. Anyway, they squeezed the underlying swolled tissue and claimed that because there was no hardness there, despite the raisd area about the thickness of a coin, they marked him negative. One nurse clearly felt it was a positive but wouldn't go againtst the doctor. The health dept ran a card up to the edges of the raised part and marked it and the size but still called it a negative. It took over three weeks for my son's reaction to go away. Both me and my sister have had active TB. I was dx during my son's prenatal and no tx given either of us. I really feel this tst was misread, especially since they injected so close to the top layer of the skin, as they are suppposed to.
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replied June 29th, 2009
its like youve been bitten by a spider or mosquito.. you get a big eound redish thing on your arm, its hard and if ur positive its supposed to be like more than 7mm. your negative if its lless than that...
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replied June 24th, 2010
Tuberculin Skin Test (TB Test, TST)
I work at Shasta Regional Medical Center as a Patient Care Technician, I just wanted to let you know that rhysjanus is completely correct about his statement. It is not the redness at all, it's actually the feel. Looking at it doesn't determine anything, whether it be larger than it started, more red, or anything else. If it is hard, or tough-like under the location you got the TST, then it means you are positive. ~R.Hutchinson(PCT)~
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replied October 20th, 2010
tuberculin skin test
How hard must it be in order to be positive?
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replied March 13th, 2011
TB skin test
dont know but mines get smaller than comes back harder and redder than before ..
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replied March 13th, 2011
could this prohibit me from employment? The reason for the test anyway was for a job .
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replied March 25th, 2011
I know that where I work it's a requirement and ground for termanation untill you have been treated retested and are negative.
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replied May 18th, 2011
PPD test redness is appearing little away from the injected point in my 16month old child. What does it means.?
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replied September 9th, 2011
Negative TB test result
I was given the BCG immunization at birth as I was born outside of the U.S. I am in my 30's and so didn't know whether or not that immunization would still affect the results of the TB skin test. I just had a skin test done and the visible results was an area of redness, no bigger than my thumbnail, and I could feel a bump. The medical assistant who examined the results did draw around the site on my arm. Similar to a 4 way intersection with the injection site in the middle. She stopped her pen at the start of the bump in all 4 ways. Then she measured the non marked areas. It measured 7 mm in length. A negative test result (which is good). She said that 10 mm would be considered positive for TB.
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replied October 3rd, 2011
tb test
My friend had a tb test done today and it isnt swollen at all is this good or bad?
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replied November 13th, 2011
Tb test
Mine wasn't swollen the first day but then it turned a little red. Now at close to the third day it has turned more red, looks bigger, Is hard in the middle but doesnt itch or anything. It's raised up a little but looks like the normal skin just red, kinda confused... Is there a way mine could be positive?
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replied May 9th, 2012
TB
My 3 year old had a TB test and it was postive he also had a vaaccine against when he was born
They gave us a drug should i use or not don' t know what to do
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replied June 12th, 2012
TB Skin Test
You might get redness, but that is just a skin reaction. A positive result depends on your personal history. The area where you got the injection will be a hard bump. The bump is what you measure, NOT the redness around it. If you are Immune compromised you are considered positive if the bump is 5mm or more. If you are an at risk healthcare worker you are positive at 10mm or more. There are various situations and ONLY a qualified healthcare professional should be reading and interpretting the results.
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replied August 20th, 2012
Tb skin results
What if it starts to get hard and red after the 48 hr period? My daughter had hers administered on Tuesday and read as positive on Thursday.. It is now Monday and she is complaining that is is hard and bigger and red..should we worry?Svajv2
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