Why are TB Skin Tests Essential for Healthcare Workers?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a severe and easily transmittable disease that primarily affects the lungs but can also affect the brain, spine, and kidneys. In Canada, TB is an ongoing health concern, with many new cases reported each year. However, by staying vigilant and proactive, we can control TB and protect our communities’ health.

Healthcare workers may come into contact with patients who have TB at any moment, putting them at higher risk of getting the disease. That is why healthcare workers need to have regular TB skin tests.

Why Do Healthcare Workers Need TB Testing?

Regular TB testing is important for healthcare workers because they are more likely to be exposed to TB in healthcare settings. When patients with TB cough or sneeze, they release TB bacteria into the air. If healthcare workers inhale these bacteria, they too can become infected. If they are not tested or treated, they can spread the disease to other patients and colleagues.

How Often Should Healthcare Workers Get Tested?

Testing frequency varies based on exposure levels and individual risk factors. Use these guidelines to help determine how often to get tested:

How is the TB Skin Test Done?

The test (also known as a Tuberculin skin test) is a simple and quick test used to determine if a person has been infected with TB bacteria. The test involves injecting a small amount of TB protein under the skin, usually on the arm. After 48 to 72 hours, your healthcare provider will check for signs of a reaction. A positive reaction, indicated by a raised, red bump, suggests that the person has been infected with TB bacteria. Read more about the test procedure here.

Early detection of a TB infection is vital. It allows for prompt treatment, which can help stop the development of active TB disease and help protect other patients and colleagues from exposure to this infectious disease.

Book an appointment with Brintnell Pharmacy today. Our kind and caring staff will guide you through the process of having a TB skin test and explain everything in detail every step of the way.