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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a positive PPD test feel like?

There’s a very small risk of severe redness and swelling on your arm, especially if you’ve had a previous positive PPD test and you’re having the test again. If the area of skin where you received the PPD injection isn’t swollen or is only slightly swollen 48 to 72 hours after the injection, the test results are negative.

What does a positive PPD test look like?

Your previous health-related issues, plus your lifestyle can both affect your positive reading. For a healthy person who has a normal immune system, a pea sized hard swelling develops under the skin. If this “induration” is greater than or equal to 10 mm, the testing is positive.

What happens if PPD is positive?

What happens if PPD is positive? The most commonly used skin test to check for TB is the PPD — purified protein derivative. If you have a positive PPD, it means you have been exposed to a person who has tuberculosis and you are now infected with the bacteria (mycobacterium tuberculosis) that causes the disease.

What does a negative PPD result look like?

When you get a negative reaction after the test, it means that you haven’t been infected by the TB-causing bacteria at any point in your life. If the test turns out negative, you will experience a very small swelling or none at all. Measurements vary for children, HIV victims and other high-risk groups. The PPD skin test is not foolproof.


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