PPD/TB Skin Test

What is the TB test?

The tuberculosis skin test has many names; you may have heard it referred to as the TB test, tuberculin test, or the PPD skin test.  The TB test involves a small injection of tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) given in your right or left forearm to determine if you have tuberculosis.

What happens during a TB test?

Step 1: A small, quick injection is made in your right or left forearm.

Step 2: You are asked to return to the clinic 48 – 72 hours after the injection so the medical staff can assess the injection site for what’s called induration.  They are looking to see if the skin where the TB test was given is inflamed, hard, or otherwise looks unusual because of the injection.

Step 3: If the skin shows no induration or reaction, the TB test is be considered negative.  A negative skin test means that TB infection or disease is unlikely.

If the skin shows induration or a reaction, the TB test is positive and you’ll need to see a doctor for additional testing and possible treatment.

Why is a TB test required for some jobs?

Tuberculosis is one of the most common causes of death from infectious disease, behind HIV/AIDS.  It’s easily spread through the air.  And, TB disease can be successfully treated by medication.  Hence, many employers require TB testing to ensure the health and safety of their employees. 

Where do I get a TB test?

MedSpring offers TB testing at all of our urgent care facilities.  You can walk in for a TB test (no appointment necessary).  You may also check with your primary care physician or county health department.

What if I have TB?

If a doctor confirms that you have TB disease, you will be prescribed medication.  Typically, TB disease is treated with medication taken for 6 – 9 months.

What are the symptoms of TB?

  • Chronic cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Chills or fever

Additional resources