Specialists in Barrington IL accurately identify penicillin allergy with thorough test for correct treatment
A family of drugs, penicillin is commonly used to kill and stop the growth of bacteria. Penicillin is also a common cause of most drug-related allergies. It is not, however, as common an allergy as many may assume.
You may be worried about how your body reacted to a course of antibiotic treatment in the past. You’ll want to tell Drs. Noga Askenazi or Eugenia Hahn about previous side effects such as:
- Sore mouth, sores on the tongue
- Mild diarrhea
Less commonly, penicillin may be associated with joint pain. Rarely, penicillin has caused severe stomachaches, cramping, confusion, seizures, fever, and combativeness.
Anaphylaxis is about as severe of a reaction as you can get with an allergy, including penicillin. When your immune system floods your body with chemicals following exposure to the drug, blood pressure plummets. Airways narrow. As the airways are constricted, wheezing, disordered breathing, and rapid pulse follows.
Unlike some allergens, reactions can happen in the days or weeks following exposure and after use of the drug has stopped. Conditions include:
- Serum sickness characterized by fever, joint pain, vomiting
- Drug-induced anemia
- Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) characterized by high white blood cell counts, recurrent hepatitis infections, swollen lymph nodes
- Kidney inflammation
It cannot be overstated that just because you had some of these symptoms in the past, it does not mean they lingered into adulthood. Moreover, you may never have had a true penicillin allergy. Sometimes undiagnosed or undetected viruses can be mistaken for allergies.
This is where accurate testing comes into play to assure the diagnosis is correct. Drs. Askenazi, Hahn, and Patel will use skin testing and blood tests to confirm penicillin (or another condition or allergen) is to blame. Proper diagnosis is critical for at least a couple of reasons:
- By falsely placing blame on this drug, more costly and less effective drugs may be prescribed needlessly.
- Some conditions don’t have an effective therapy other than penicillin, so the medication may be crucial for proper treatment.
- Some alternate meds have additional side effects.
However, perhaps the biggest problem with putting blame in the wrong place is a correct treatment can’t be identified. Anaphylaxis alone can be caused by a number of other allergic and non-allergic problems, including immune system, heart, and lung disorders, and panic attacks.
If Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois finds penicillin is to blame, antihistamine and corticosteroids may help prevent more reactions and existing inflammation.
If there isn’t a suitable alternative to the drug for you and your condition, drug desensitization involves very small yet progressively larger doses of penicillin being introduced, so your body learns to tolerate the drug. It may not be recommended for those with very serious reactions.
Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois may identify alternative drugs. A medical bracelet can identify the allergy to others as a preventative measure. Our specialists can teach you and your loved ones how to use an epinephrine delivery device in the event of an emergency. Call 847 888 8802 to schedule a penicillin allergy test in Barrington IL area.