Have you ever been to the hospital and asked if you have any allergies? According to research, millions of people in the U.S. are convinced that they have one particular allergy to a medicine and have this noted on their medical record. However, it turns out that you might not be allergic to this life-saving drug after all…
According to a report published in JAMA, one of the most common allergies on Americans’ medical records is a penicillin allergy. When a doctor sees this allergy, they have to consider other options compared to the most cost-effective and safest treatment. According to research, however, most people who believe they are allergic to penicillin aren’t!
Crunching The Numbers
In 2017, a review of 24 different studies found that a whopping 95% of patients were not allergic to penicillin – a huge number could have been treated safely with the antibiotic, instead of more expensive and sometimes risky alternatives.
According to the lead author of the study, Erica Shenoy, “Many reported penicillin allergies are established during childhood,” which is when it is commonly prescribed as an antibiotic. This has led to many people believing they are allergic, when in fact the antibiotic has just been used for the wrong things.
Knowing If You’re Allergic
Of course, there are still around 10% of Americans who are reportedly allergic to penicillin and there is no denying that this allergy does exist. If you are allergic to the antibiotic, then it can cause hives, shortness of breath, and some life-threatening symptoms.
However, authors of the recent study are urging doctors to test for a penicillin allergy in patients who claim to have it. This would enable a clearer picture of who is allergic and who can be safely prescribed the antibiotic.
If you think you have a penicillin allergy, it may be worth checking with your doctor to see if you can be tested. At least that way you can know for sure.