Think you have an allergy to the “miracle drug?”
If you have ever been told you are allergic to penicillin, you are not alone. This type of allergy is chronically over diagnosed in Houston, Texas and around the country. While there are alternatives to this antibiotic, they are often less appropriate or more expensive.
Visit Your Houston Allergy Specialist
There is some good news. If you were diagnosed as a child, think your recent diagnosis was incorrect or just want to know for sure, one of the allergy services offered at your Houston allergy center are a series of tests that can determine if you are actually allergic to the miracle drug. First, your Houston allergy specialist will review your medical history. They are specifically looking for details on the last time you experienced a penicillin-induced allergic reaction, including the type of symptoms you experienced and the timeframe of the event.
Once your Houston allergy specialist confirms it is safe for you to continue, a skin test will be performed. A drop of penicillin extract is placed on the skin and a small needle is used to prick the top layer of skin directly below the drop. After 15 minutes, any reaction, such as a red, itchy bump is measured. This is a positive reaction, which indicates a high likelihood of a penicillin allergy. While a negative reaction typically means you are not allergic, a negative reaction can be caused by a few factors so an additional test is usually ordered for confirmation.
The gold standard of penicillin allergy testing is a graded challenge. This test is completed in your Houston allergy center with continuous oversight; thus ensuring if you do have a reaction it can be treated immediately. You will ingest four or five doses of the penicillin and any and all reactions are measured. The first is a very low dose and they gradually increase as the challenge progresses. If you can tolerate all the doses without a reaction your doctor is able to confirm you are officially not allergic to penicillin. Yay! Time to do your happy dance.
For more information on penicillin testing, contact your local Houston allergy specialist.