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Penicillin Testing

Penicillin is a group of antibiotics with the remarkable ability to alleviate many bacterial infections and even save lives. At Allergy Associates of Utah in Murray and West Jordan, Utah, Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, offer penicillin testing to confirm or rule out a penicillin allergy. To schedule your penicillin testing appointment, call the nearest office, or book online today.

What is penicillin?

Penicillin is a groundbreaking group of powerful antibiotics that have changed the scope of medicine. Within your body, penicillin can attack a wide range of harmful bacteria that cause serious illnesses and could kill you in some cases. It’s the first antibiotic that doctors ever used to treat bacterial infections like staphylococcus.

Unfortunately, some people are allergic to penicillin.

What is a penicillin allergy?

The active ingredient in penicillin comes from a type of fungus. A bit less than 1% of the population is allergic to penicillin and can even experience life-threatening anaphylaxis if they take the drug. If you have an allergy, your symptoms might come right away or up to several days later. The signs and symptoms include:

  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Watery eyes

If your penicillin allergy is severe enough to cause anaphylaxis, your airways can constrict and close as your blood pressure drops. You may even lose consciousness, and immediate treatment is imperative. 

What is penicillin testing?

Allergy Associates of Utah conveniently offers penicillin testing so you can find out if you have a penicillin allergy before taking the medication. Getting a penicillin test to find out if you have an allergy could potentially save your life, or at least save you the trouble of experiencing allergic symptoms. 

One method of penicillin testing is a skin test. Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin uses a tiny needle with trace amounts of penicillin to prick your skin. If you have an allergy, a small red bump grows in the spot where the needle penetrates your skin. If no such reaction occurs, then you likely don’t have a penicillin allergy.

Another type of penicillin test is called a graded challenge. Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin might recommend this if your skin test isn’t conclusive or if they’d like to confirm the results. During a graded challenge, they give you up to five increasing doses of penicillin. If you reach the final dose without a reaction, then you do not have a penicillin allergy.

If you take part in a graded challenge, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin monitors you carefully and uses a form of penicillin that isn’t the exact one suspected of causing your reaction. You can get the results of your penicillin test within about two hours.

When do I need penicillin testing?

You should book an appointment for penicillin testing at Allergy Associates of Utah if you’ve ever taken any form of penicillin and experienced allergic symptoms shortly after. Mild symptoms that one could misinterpret as allergic symptoms, like a rash or diarrhea, don’t always indicate an allergy since these are side effects of some antibiotics. 

If you suspect that you have a penicillin allergy, don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Allergy Associates of Utah by calling the office or booking an appointment online today. 

Phone: (801) 263-8700

Phone: (801) 282-8700