If you’re at risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) or you have symptoms of this potentially serious disease, see the experts at Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center. Primary care specialists Kevin Calhoun, MD, Shelly Calhoun, FNP-C, and their highly trained team offer TB tests to detect or rule out infection and treat it when needed. Call the office to schedule an appointment or use the online booking feature today.

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What is a tuberculosis (TB) test?

A TB test is a common diagnostic test that can detect TB, or tuberculosis. TB is a disease that affects your lungs and spreads from person to person through droplets in the air. Detecting TB allows your provider to treat it properly and reduce the risk of severe complications.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

Some of the common symptoms of TB include:

  • Ongoing coughing
  • Coughing up mucus or blood
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Pain when coughing or breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Reduced appetite

If you have latent TB, the bacteria in your body don’t cause any symptoms. Active TB makes you feel sick and could appear weeks or even years after getting infected with TB.

Tuberculosis may affect parts of your body outside of your lungs, such as your spine, brain, or kidneys.

Potential complications associated with TB include blood in your urine, back or spine pain, joint damage, arthritis, meningitis, kidney or liver problems, and heart disorders.

What are the risk factors for TB?

While anyone can have tuberculosis, factors that increase your risk of developing it include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Traveling to foreign countries
  • Cancer, diabetes, or other chronic diseases
  • Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments
  • Some medications
  • Malnutrition
  • Age (very young or advanced age)
  • Drug, tobacco, or excessive alcohol use
  • Working in healthcare
  • Living with someone infected with TB
  • Working or living in a residential care facility

Examples of residential care facilities include homeless shelters, nursing homes, prisons, and psychiatric hospitals.

Is a TB test right for me?

If you’re at risk of TB or develop symptoms associated with the disease, a TB test may be for you. Your Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center specialist lets you know for sure after reviewing your lifestyle habits, medical history, and symptoms. They check your vital signs, complete a physical exam, and let you know which type of TB test is best.

What should I expect during a TB test?

Some of the common TB tests include:

TB skin test

During a TB skin test, your provider injects a small amount of fluid into the skin on your forearm. After 48-72 hours, you return back to the Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center office so they can look for a reaction, such as a red, raised, hard bump.

TB blood test

During a TB blood test, your specialist takes a sample of blood from a vein in your arm and sends it to a lab for analysis.

Imaging test

Imaging tests like chest X-rays, CT scans, or other imaging procedures can detect signs of TB in your lungs.

Sputum test

Your primary care specialist might also take a sample of your sputum, which is the mucus that appears when you cough, and test it for TB bacteria.

What happens if I have a positive TB test?

If you test positive for TB, your Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center provider may suggest you take medications, sometimes for six months or longer. They tailor each treatment based on the strain of TB you have, your symptoms, and whether or not TB is in an active phase.

To schedule a TB test at Peninsula Healthcare & Wellness Center or find out if it’s right for you, call the office or use the online booking feature today.