Jun 19, 2019 | Updated: 09:31 AM EDT

Truth Behind Penicillin Allergy: Why People Think They Are Allergic To It?

Feb 09, 2017 02:50 PM EST

The Science Museum Celebrate A Century Of Science
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) A sample of penicillin, one of the nominees for the greatest invention, is displayed at the Science Museum on November 4, 2009 in London, England. The Science Museum is celebrating a century of science with a public poll that has voted the X Ray machine as the most important invention of the last 100 years.

Over the past years, a lot of people consider themselves as allergic to penicillin even if they don't really do. So what could be the reason behind this?

In an article released by WebMD, one of the reasons why people assume they are allergic to penicillin is that they had a prior experience with penicillin which caused a mild reaction which actually can be outgrown. Dr. Min Lee of UT Southwestern Medical Center explained in the interview with WebMD that allergies to penicillin during childhood can actually be outgrown 10 to 15 years later. However, she emphasized that each immune system is unique so it's still a must to take an allergy test to be sure.

Lee further explained that allergy tests can be taken through a two-step process which usually runs for three hours. The first stage involves a skin test. If a person showed negative results, that's the time he or she shall proceed to the second stage which is to take an oral penicillin to see if there will be reactions that will appear.

Moreover, some viral infections are also misdiagnosed as an allergy to penicillin because some patients just forgot about their medical history. In a news reported by NBC News last year, such misdiagnosis is normal as some doctors are also not aware of the tolerance of the patient. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, around 90 percent of those who are diagnosed with a penicillin allergy can actually tolerate the antibiotic.

Nevertheless, Lee emphasizes the need to have a verification for any allergy such as penicillin allergy. Penicillin is one of the most affordable antibiotics in the market and if one is misdiagnosed of such allergy, it can lead to expensive options. Furthermore, if a person is indeed diagnosed with the said allergy, he or she should be careful as he or she is susceptible to drug-resistant bacteria such as the C. difficile and MRSA.

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