Allergy Specialist in Elgin, IL explains penicillin allergy and the importance of proper diagnosis

Allergy Specialist in Elgin, IL explains penicillin allergy and the importance of proper diagnosis

Recent research has begun to expose what many doctors have suspected for years, that the number of patients who are actually allergic to penicillin is lower than we think. A Penicillin allergy is diagnosed when your body has an adverse or abnormal reaction to the antibiotic. Penicillin is a common antibiotic that is prescribed for many types of bacterial infections. While not to make light of the allergy, severe allergic reactions to penicillin can include anaphylaxis, it is important to accurately identify the problem so patients can receive the best type of antibiotic treatment available.

What is Penicillin?

Penicillin is a class of antibacterial drugs that fight infections.

Symptoms of Penicillin Allergy

Most symptoms of an allergic reaction to penicillin take place very quickly (within about an hour of taking the drug). In some cases, patients may experience these reactions days or even weeks later.

Symptoms can include: hives, itching, rash, fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, itchy eyes, and anaphylaxis.


Penicillin allergies occur because the body’s immune system has identified the drug as a harmful substance, attacking it like it would an infection. Patients who are at risk for penicillin allergies are those who have a history of allergies, allergic reactions to other drugs, a family history of drug allergies, or certain illnesses known for allergic drug reactions such as HIV.

One of the most important reasons for properly identifying penicillin allergies is to ensure patients receive the right medication. For many who believe they have a penicillin allergy, the only confirmation comes from being told they had a reaction many years ago as a child, often an experience he or she doesn’t remember. This information leads the doctor to prescribe other antibiotics which can often be less effective, cost more, and have more side effects. Furthermore, research has gone on to prove that many patients who did have a reaction to the drug as a child, outgrew them.

The good news is there is a simple skin test that takes about thirty minutes. At Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates, we have years of experience with skin testing and can help you accurately determine if you have a penicillin allergy. For more information, call us at (847) 888-8802.

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Meredith Cirrincione | Dr. Noga Askenazi

Haley Young is a board-certified physician assistant specializing in immunology and allergy with a comprehensive background in neurosurgery and dermatology. Holding a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from Lincoln Memorial University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Aurora University, she brings a holistic approach to patient care. Haley Young is committed to treating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit, adeptly managing complex conditions like allergic rhinitis, food allergies, and asthma. She is a member of prestigious professional organizations and is dedicated to building trust with her patients, ensuring compassionate and comprehensive care.

Amy Schack, a distinguished board-certified Physician Associate, brings a wealth of expertise to patient care. Specializing in allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, and rashes, Amy is renowned for her commitment to excellence and compassionate approach. With a background in immediate care and orthopedics, she holds a Master's in Physician Assistant studies from Midwestern University and a Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University. A member of esteemed professional associations, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Association of PAs in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Amy Schack instills confidence, ensuring you can trust her unwavering dedication to your health and well-being.

Meredith Cirrincione is a board certified Physician Assistant and specializes in treating allergies, with a focus on asthma, rashes, environmental allergies, chemical and food allergies. She holds a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from The Chicago Medical School - Rosalind Franklin University of Health Sciences. She is a Fellow member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Association of PAs in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She likes to approach things holistically. She is a strong patient advocate and adored by her patients. She enjoys singing, reading, cooking, and the great outdoors.

Dr. Noga Askenazi is a nationally recognized asthma and allergy specialist who is board certified in pediatric and adult allergy. Her areas of special interest are innovative treatment of rashes, sinusitis, food allergies, asthma and immune disorders. She was past President of the ISAAI (Illinois Society of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology), works on state and national committees for advancement of the allergy field and is a consultant for Advocate, Ascension Health, Northwestern amongst other health care systems. Her joy is helping patients reach their goals after together determining best treatments. Her staff and patients are a chosen family, and she invests in their happiness. She enjoys gardening, biking and cooking to good music.