Cully's PPD Placement
I just had a PPD skin test done to check for a latent tuberculosis infection. For med students, you already know what this is. For the rest, please allow me to explain.
Almost 1/3 of the world's population (2 billion people) are currently "infected" with TB. Now, this doesnt mean that they are sick. The vast majority of these 2 billion have what is known as latent tuberculosis. This means that theoretically, someewhere in there body there are TB bacteria that may someday wake up and actually cause the disease. This should not be confused with actual pulmonary tuberculosis, which innvolves night sweats, weight loss, coughing, and is highly contagious. Latent TB is not contagious. However, there is a 10% lifetime chance that those with latent TB will someday develop pulmonary TB. The chance is 10% each year for those with HIV.
To check for latent TB, a small amount of inactive TB is placed under the skin in the form of purified protien derivative (PPD). If your body reacts to the antigen, it is presumed that you are latently infected. You then need a chest X-ray to rule out active disease that may be contagious. Now, here is the awful part. Those who have a positive PPD will have to take a drug called isoniazid (or INH) for 9 months. INH is a toxic drug and is hard on your liver. People often develop tingling and burning in their toes and fingers while on INH. But worst of all YOU CAN NOT DRINK ALCOHOL WHILE TAKING INH! I know, isnt it terrible! Thats like being pregnant!!
In order to be allowed to rotate at USC this fall, I have to have a recent PPD placed. Mine was just injected under my left arm, and I am now PRAYING that it will not react. Please send all your positive energy, prayers, health chakras, etc to my left arm. Not only do I not want to have any TB bugs hiding out in my body, I really dont want to take INH for 9 months.
I'll know in 48-72 hours if its positive or not. Stay tuned to find out the exciting sequel to "Cully's PPD placement." Hopefully, it will be as boring and uneventful as it sounds.