Penicillin allergies are the result of an abnormal immune system response when antibiotics containing penicillin are introduced to the body. Patients who are allergic to penicillin experience a variety of adverse reactions including skin rash, hives, and itching. However, most people who believe they have a penicillin allergy actually do not. They may have developed a rash as an infant or young child after taking antibiotics and were told to unnecessarily avoid penicillin. These individuals have been taking a less effective or alternative medicine their entire adult life.
Penicillin testing allows your healthcare specialist to confirm your allergy, ensuring you receive the most appropriate treatment solution for your symptoms. Skin testing is the most common method for determining whether you have a penicillin allergy. When pricking your skin with a moistened applicator, a few drops of the penicillin serum are administered to the prick site. Depending on the results you may receive an oral dose of medication in the office. When there is no reaction to the therapeutic dose, a penicillin allergy is ruled out.