Penicillin Allergy - Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Natural Remedies
Penicillin is one of the most common go-to drugs for treatment of bacterial infections. However, if your immune system reacts abnormally to this antibiotic drug, it means that you have a penicillin allergy. This leads to your immune system fighting the medicines instead of bacterial infections.
Are you suffering from penicillin allergy and trying to control it with the proper measures? This article will help you gain a wholesome idea about it!
What Is Penicillin Allergy?
Penicillin constitutes a large and significant part of the drug class beta-lactam antibiotics, mainly including penicillin and cephalosporin. Most people keep penicillin at home and use these for treating ear infections, strep throat, sinus and dental infections. When you suffer from a penicillin allergy, your body ends up in an anaphylactic reaction every time you consume this drug. The symptoms can be general, making it difficult to diagnose them. Such allergies hardly persist long.
Who Is at Risk of Penicillin Allergy?
Anyone can be at risk when it comes to facing a penicillin allergy. It is a common allergy affecting about 10% of the global population. However, children and toddlers are mainly at risk. Although they mostly outgrow the issue once they grow up to be adults, they need to take care of it in the initial years. While anyone can be allergic to penicillin, patients who are allergic to other drugs are more at risk.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Penicillin Allergy?
Now that you have a fair understanding of this allergy, you must learn about the symptoms of penicillin allergy. Usually, these symptoms start showing within an hour of consuming the drug. For example, if you get the following symptoms after consuming penicillin, it might confirm your allergy to this drug.
- Skin rash and hives
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Itching on the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing and coughing
- Tightness of the throat
- Runny nose
What Are the Causes of Penicillin Allergy?
If you wonder, "what causes penicillin allergy” the allergic reaction generates from your immune system. The consumption of penicillin can trigger your immune system, causing an anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis patients can face this kind of allergic reaction every time they are exposed to a substance, including an allergen or antigen. The sooner your symptoms occur, the higher the allergic reaction.
Individuals allergic to other drugs or hay fever might be more prone to penicillin allergy. Moreover, those who are HIV positive or infected with Epstein-Barr can also face this issue. In this condition, when you take this drug, your immune system becomes hypersensitive and mistakes the drug as a harmful substance. If your immune system misidentifies penicillin as a dangerous substance, it helps develop an antibody to the drug.
How to Diagnose Penicillin Allergy?
As you can see, penicillin allergy can affect you anytime you consume this drug. Therefore, you need to visit a healthcare centre and make an appointment with a physician for treating the issue. The doctor is most likely to ask you questions about the symptoms and how long they lasted. Apart from this, there might be the following diagnosis procedure involved here.
- Skin test: This is the most common test conducted for this allergy. The doctor injects a weak dose of penicillin into your arm. If you have an allergy, you will get a skin bump within 15 minutes of the dose.
- Challenge test: When you urgently need penicillin, and your doctors do not have enough time for the skin test, doctors use this type of test. The doctor will start with a small dose and wait for 30-40 seconds. If there is no reaction on your skin, you will receive a higher dose, and the cycle will continue. You do not have an allergy if there are no reactions once you receive the total dose.
What Are the Treatments for Penicillin Allergy?
If you swallow penicillin without realising that you are allergic, you need to visit a doctor and get treatment for penicillin allergy. Doctors prescribe medicines in the antihistamine category in most cases, such as diphenhydramine. However, doctors might give drugs like corticosteroids in severe symptoms and swelling. Moreover, they can also provide you with epinephrine shots in emergencies.
How to Prevent Penicillin Allergy?
Now that you understand how to treat penicillin allergy, you must be wondering how to prevent such allergic reactions. If you are suffering from a penicillin allergy, a simple way of preventing it is by avoiding the drug. Apart from this, you can undertake the following methods.
- Inform your physician: If you have a penicillin allergy, you should inform your physician and other healthcare practitioners that you usually deal with. It is to confirm your issues through your medical history, not mistakenly to prescribe any medicines related to penicillin.
- Medical bracelet: Such bracelets help recognise your specific allergy issues while getting medical treatments.