Many people who believe they’re allergic to penicillin actually aren’t, an allergist says.
“Hypersensitivity reactions are the major problem in the use of penicillin,” said Dr. Thomas Leath, an allergist with the Texas A&M College of Medicine.
“Many people who report a penicillin allergy don’t even know why. It could be because they had a reaction when they were very young, or because a family member had an allergic reaction and told their children not to take penicillin,” he said in a university news release.
People who are allergic to penicillin often have to take more expensive antibiotics that can have more side effects, Leath noted. There is a skin test for penicillin allergy.
Another reason why people mistakenly believe they are allergic to penicillin is inappropriate prescribing of the drug for conditions it can’t treat, such as the flu and colds.