Testing for Penicillin Allergies?>
Wellness Tip

Testing for Penicillin Allergies

by Berkeley Wellness  

If you think you are allergic to penicillin, ask your doctor about being tested to confirm it, since there’s a good chance you are mistaken. According to a new fact sheet from the CDC, 10 percent of Americans report that they have a penicillin allergy, but less than 1 percent are truly allergic. As a result, instead of tried-and-true penicillin, they usually end up with a broad-spectrum antibiotic that not only is more expensive, but also may have more side effects. Moreover, overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics can promote bacterial resistance to them.

This applies to children, too: Most who are thought to be aller­gic to penicillin by their parents actually are not when tested by an allergist. And children who do have the allergy usually outgrow it.

If you have a history of an unverified penicillin allergy, ask your doctor about testing, especially before undergoing a procedure that may require antibiotics. The CDC fact sheet explains how penicillin allergy should be evaluated and diagnosed. You can print it out and bring it to your doctor; click here to access it on the CDC website.

Also see Food Allergy or Intolerance?