It is not uncommon for patients to have experienced a rash or other so-called “allergic reaction” while taking one of the most common antibiotics such as penicillin. However, this does not mean that patients have an actual allergy to penicillin. While you may believe you have an allergy to this medication, most do not. In fact, in a recent study done by the ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology), 384 people who thought they were allergic to penicillin were tested specifically for this allergy, and only 6% of them truly had an allergy.
What does this mean for you? This means that if you believe you have a penicillin allergy, you may be wrong! Whether you have experienced a rash or swelling while taking penicillin, this is not a true indication of an allergy. This misconception may result in patients being prescribed different, more expensive antibiotic alternatives when they are actually not needed. Other medications may also have more severe side effects and can increase the risk of drug resistance. This is why penicillin is often the first line of defense when it comes to common conditions such as ear infections, sinus infections, and strep throat.
But what if you developed hives or other issues when taking this medication in the past? Many patients may have had an allergy when they were younger but can grow out of them, so testing in adulthood may provide different results. Also, these issues may have been a result of a virus that went undetected and undiagnosed and may not be directly related.
At the Advanced Allergy and Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois, we provide allergy testing and can help you determine if you have a true medical allergy. We can provide skin tests and blood testing in order to get an accurate reading as to whether or not penicillin is an appropriate medication for you when antibiotics are necessary.
Drs. Noga Askenazi and her staff are all available in our practice to help with allergy solutions. Contact our team today to book a consultation appointment and learn about accurate allergy testing..
Dr. Noga Askenazi speaks about testing and identifying Antibiotic Allergies
How do I know if I’m allergic to antibiotics?
Most recent studies and experiences amongst allergist show that a majority do not have an antibiotic allergy but have had an adverse rash to being on the antibiotic while they were sick.
The stats show that 98% of those who have had a previous rash to an antibiotic can be tested and proven non-allergic. Thereby, they can receive that antibiotic again.
How would you test someone for penicillin allergy?
We test people for penicillin allergy in the office with a skin test, and then an oral challenge. We clear them to be able to have that antibiotic again in the future.
How would someone know they are free from an allergy to antibiotics?
At any age, we can test someone for having had a real allergic response, which is really 2% of people. We do want to make sure that we pick that 2% and educate them, that they cannot have that antibiotic or the class of antibiotics or anything similar.
The majority will be able to have an antibiotic skin test and the challenge. So, they will be free to use that antibiotic or others in that class for the rest of their lives.
Drs. Noga Askenazi, Dipika Patel, and Eugenia Hahn are all available in our practice to help with allergy solutions. Contact our team today to book a consultation appointment and learn about accurate allergy testing. (847) 888-8802