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I Might Be Allergic To Penicillin; How Can I Be Sure?

A true penicillin allergy affects less than 1% of the population, according to statistics. Penicillin is one of the safest and most effective antibiotics for treating various bacterial infections, which could be very good news. Additionally, compared to other options, it frequently has a lower price tag and fewer side effects.

However, if there is a chance of an allergic reaction, taking penicillin is the last thing anyone wants to do to avoid risking serious health issues. Thankfully, at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group, we can help you.

The mystery surrounding penicillin allergies

Penicillin allergies can occur for various reasons, as with other allergies. Many people had a negative reaction to penicillin as children. Others confuse illness side effects or symptoms with an allergic reaction.

The reality of the situation is that even if you had a penicillin allergy in the past, 80% of people lose their sensitivity after ten years. In addition, unlike medication side effects or symptoms of illness, allergic reactions to penicillin cause very specific symptoms.

The following are common symptoms of a true penicillin allergy:

  1. Swollen lips, tongue, or skin
  2. Itching, hives, or rash
  3. Wheezing or shortness of breath
  4. Itchy, watery eyes
  5. Runny nose
  6. Fever

Anaphylaxis can occur with severe penicillin allergies. This rare and potentially fatal reaction causes serious complications ranging from difficulty breathing and low blood pressure to an accelerated pulse and loss of consciousness.

Most people who are allergic to penicillin develop symptoms within 60 minutes of taking their prescription. However, allergic reactions can occur hours, days, or weeks later in rare cases.

How can I be safely tested for penicillin sensitivity?

There are methods to determine if you are allergic to penicillin. And no, taking some penicillin won’t put you at risk of having a negative reaction. An appointment with one of our knowledgeable allergists in California can be made in its place.

Our staff at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Groupexamines your medical history and inquires about previous penicillin reactions during your appointment. We can also run an easy and quick scratch test.

During our scratch test, we prick a small hole in your skin and inject a very small dose of penicillin into your body when you have a scratch test. We then watch for any changes, such as swelling, itching, or redness. You have a penicillin allergy if this happens. Similarly to that, you most likely do not if nothing happens.

If you are aware of your penicillin sensitivity, we can make tailored suggestions for how to proceed. There are ways to treat infections safely while avoiding penicillin-based medications. We do, however, also provide therapies aimed at desensitizing people to medications like penicillin.

Ready to find out if you are allergic to penicillin?

Stop taking risks, call 805-658-9500 today, and speak to an allergy specialist at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group.