The TB skin test, also referred to as a PPD skin test, is given to test for the presence of mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacteria that causes the disease tuberculosis. When this test is performed, an injection is given underneath the skin on an individual's forearm. The test is read 48 to 72 hours later. The TB skin test may cause side effects in some individuals. Individuals should contact their doctor or the person who performed the test if any side effects occur to discuss treatment options.
In rare cases, individuals may experience localized side effects at the injection site. RxList.com explains that ulcers and severe skin damage or tissue death, known as necrosis, may occur at the site. Redness, swelling and blistering may also occur in some people.
Hives and Itching
The most typical side effects that are experienced after the placement of a TB skin test are hives and itching, notes MedlinePlus. Steroid creams and cold packs may be used to relieve the discomfort associated with these side effects. Patients should always notify their health-care provider for exact treatment recommendations.
Difficulty Breathing and Rash
In some cases, individuals may experience side effects that occur throughout the body related to the TB skin test. These side effects occur as a systemic rash and difficulty breathing, a result of an allergic reaction to the injection. Reactions such as these are extremely rare, and are treated with a combination of epinephrine and steroids. Individuals who experience these side effects should contact emergency medical personnel immediately for prompt treatment.