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UVA doctor: penicillin allergy not as common as you may think

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 1:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you have been told you are allergic to penicillin experts are saying it may be time to get reevaluated.

Dr. Anna Smith of the University of Virginia says penicillin allergies are often misdiagnosed. She says that many kids are diagnosed with this allergy when in reality it could just be a reaction to the infection.

Having a listed penicillin allergy can lead to disadvantages like broader prescriptions.

“What we know is that individuals who have a penicillin allergy listed oftentimes get broader antibiotics that may be less preferred. Sometimes [with] those antibiotics, the alternatives may be more costly, that unfortunately they’re at higher risk of developing a drug-resistant infection and if those individuals that are penicillin allergic are in the hospital, sometimes they end up staying in the hospital much longer,” Smith said.

Smith says that even if you are allergic, that allergy can wane over time so its worth it to get rechecked.

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