I think my PPD is positive

  1. I got my ppd today- last one was in May, before I started working in the ED. Now, right where my test was given, it's red about one half inch all the way around where it was injected and slightly raised (I can tell when I look at my arm at an angle). I've never had this happen before.
    I'm scared. Mainly because I'm 6 months pregnant. Can I take the meds if I'm pregnant? Good grief!
    I thought for sure I'd know what a positive reaction looks like, since I've never had one. But I'm sitting doing the whole "Maybe it's a local reaction and it will go away". I've marked the site, drew a line around it to see if it spreads.
    -A
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   mstigerlily
    Don't panic yet. My arm gets red too where the shot is but by the time the 48-72 hrs rolls around it's mostly gone. It is the induration (raised part) that indicates a positive, not the redness. Some people are just more sensitive. I am allergic to nickel (cheap jewelry makes me swell up, itch) and I've just realized I am allergic to the harsh soaps at work and frequent handwashing so I now have to bring my own bar soap and moisturize after EVERY handwashing (yeah like I have time to do that!)

    So don't worry just yet. If you get a positive reading you can go from there. We had a couple of nursing students who got a positive reading, submitted a negative chest xray and were allowed to work but I believe they did have to take the meds.

    Quote from Aneroo
    I got my ppd today- last one was in May, before I started working in the ED. Now, right where my test was given, it's red about one half inch all the way around where it was injected and slightly raised (I can tell when I look at my arm at an angle). I've never had this happen before.
    I'm scared. Mainly because I'm 6 months pregnant. Can I take the meds if I'm pregnant? Good grief!
    I thought for sure I'd know what a positive reaction looks like, since I've never had one. But I'm sitting doing the whole "Maybe it's a local reaction and it will go away". I've marked the site, drew a line around it to see if it spreads.
    -A
  4. by   galenight
    Ditto what the other poster said. It is NOT considered positive unitl it is red and indurated at 48-72 hours. Also remember that anything smaller than 5mm is also considered negative for health care workers. If it does end up being positive, you may need to take meds. I'm not sure what pregnancy catagory they fall under and you may just need to wait until you deliver. I took them and it's not a very big deal. Just relax and try not to obsess about it for the next day or two. Good luck
  5. by   lsyorke
    Relax, mine always look red and raised for the first 24 hours. Local reaction that goes away before the 48 hour read.
  6. by   Aneroo
    Thanks guys. I finally found a pic of a positive picture, and my arm certainly doesn't look like that!
    The redness did not increase in size, and my arm is actually more of a pink color now- not red like yesterday. No swelling.
    It truely freaked me out- Goodness knows HOW many of these things I've had done, and this is the first time I've ever had any sort of reaction!
    Thanks again!
  7. by   Balder_LPN
    I was doing IT work for a home healthcare agency and had to get a PPD. I had a "non-typical" reaction, not positive but still some slight redness and a tiny bit of swelling, the very experienced QA nurse who did our inhouse stuff, measured, took pictures, looked up in the book, and said it was definitley not a positive, so dont worry. She told me to expect that type of result in the future.

    There is another thread on here I read recently about a number of people with this type of reaction, the consensus seemed to be a possible slight allergey to the presevative in the test.
    Last edit by Balder_LPN on Oct 21, '05
  8. by   MadisonsMomRN
    I am allergic to the preservative in some of the brands of tuberculin. I do the same thing...it gets red and raised.

    Don't worry!
  9. by   Celia M
    Having grown up in the UK I was vaccinated for TB with BCG. After 5-6 PPDs I tested positive. I had a CXR it was clear, and now all I do is fill in the questionnaire each year. Don't worry about it, and if you need further testing talk to your OB. Thinking of you Celia
  10. by   Balder_LPN
    Quote from Balder
    I was doing IT work for a home healthcare agency and had to get a PPD. I had a "non-typical" reaction, not positive but still some slight redness and a tiny bit of swelling, the very experienced QA nurse who did our inhouse stuff, measured, took pictures, looked up in the book, and said it was definitley not a positive, so dont worry. She told me to expect that type of result in the future.

    There is another thread on here I read recently about a number of people with this type of reaction, the consensus seemed to be a possible slight allergey to the presevative in the test.
    Well, I am now continuing on with my healthcare carreer/education and am volunteering in the local ER. Again I have had a non standard reaction to my PPD, with the occ health nurse at the hospital calling it positive. But she wasnt quite sure so I was sent to see the Nurse practitioner at the local health dept. Long story short, I am negative.

    Now the interesting part. I was pretty concerned about what this would do to my schooling and volunteer work if positive (the pamphlet said you take the meds for 2 to 9 months, and it can cause liver failure). The NP said that you could refuse treatment! I asked how that would effect my schooling/carreer, she said not at all. That brought me to the question of "why have the test if it doesnt matter if you are positive and you can refuse treatment?" Answer: A positive PPD w/o s&s of active TB (night sweats, cough, weightloss) is Latent TB, ie you have been exposed but cannot transmit the disease. APX <10% of all persons exposed to TB will ever develop the active disease. Usually when very elderly or something else (HIV for instance) lowers your immune system. So the reason for yearly PPD tests on healthcare workers is to identify clusters of new infections. This indicates that there is an active case of TB nearrby that must be identified and the PT who is active must be treated, this is a public health hazard.

    Anyway, I didnt see anyone cover this aspect of the PPD here so I thought I would add it, as alot of the healthcare pros here didnt seem to realize that you dont need to be treated and can still work/school with untreated latent TB.
  11. by   dnw826
    I also have a scary looking reaction when I get the ppd. The nurse who did it the first time gets the same reaction, and so she didn't freak out about it being positive. But she says that I am probably allergic to the preservatives or something else in it. Scares the bejessus out of other nurses, though. :chuckle

    I know it's not "funny", but I have been through it so many times! Last time I had it, the nurse was blabbering and was nervous or something and didn't look while she stuck the needle in and ended up pulling out a bit soon and squirting me in the face with the ppd. :angryfire
  12. by   TazziRN
    And even if you are positive, all is not lost. I know a woman who was diagnosed with active TB when about 8 months along and was started on meds immediately. She delivered a healthy baby and there seemed to be no question of any danger to Junior.
  13. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from TazziRN
    And even if you are positive, all is not lost. I know a woman who was diagnosed with active TB when about 8 months along and was started on meds immediately. She delivered a healthy baby and there seemed to be no question of any danger to Junior.
    A suspected positive pregnant pt came into the clinic during last semester's OB/PEDS rotation and the nurse midwife said they do not start pregnant pts on meds until after the delivery.
  14. by   catlady
    Quote from Aneroo
    Annabelle Marie
    Jan 22, 2006 at 0105
    Born: 6lbs11oz
    10days: 7lbs3oz
    1month: 9lbs
    No comment on the thread, just in awe that you have a six-month-old baby and you're six months pregnant. Those will be serious Irish twins...

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