Why does it matter if I’m not allergic to penicillin?
The penicillin class of antibiotics is considered one of the safest and most effective treatments for many bacterial infections. Because of its effectiveness in killing the growth of numerous strains of bacteria, it’s important to know whether you’re able to take this often life-saving medication. Penicillin is also less expensive and generally has fewer side effects than other types of antibiotics.
Your physician may prescribe a penicillin antibiotic to treat:
- Ear infection
- Sinus infection
- Strep throat
- Blood infection (sepsis)
Penicillin can be administered orally via capsules or liquid, by injection, or through intravenous (IV) infusion.
Why was I labeled with a penicillin allergy if I’m not allergic?
Many children are labeled as allergic when they develop a rash, upset stomach, or other adverse symptoms while taking penicillin. Sometimes, however, a rash is part of the presenting illness rather than a true sign of an allergy.
Upset stomach and diarrhea are common side effects of penicillin but don’t indicate an allergy. It’s also estimated that 90% of individuals with a true penicillin allergy can lose their allergic tendencies within 10 years. So, now may be the right time to discover if you or your child is truly allergic to penicillin.
How can you tell if I am allergic to penicillin?
Your allergy and immunology specialist at Advanced Allergy & Asthma performs an evaluation that includes a detailed discussion of your history and previous reaction to penicillin as well as a skin test.
A penicillin skin test has several steps that your allergist explains in detail before the procedure. Essentially, penicillin is introduced to your system via a skin prick and intradermal technique. This site is then monitored closely for a reaction. If you don’t develop a red, raised bump or other response at the test sites, it’s highly unlikely that you have a penicillin allergy.
If you do react to the skin testing, you’re considered penicillin-allergic and warnings are explained and carefully discussed. If you have a condition that requires penicillin treatment, your allergist may discuss therapy to desensitize your system to penicillin.
Schedule a visit at Advanced Allergy & Asthma to discover the truth about your suspected penicillin allergy. Call the office or book your appointment online.