Lots of you don’t have what you think you have

There’s some really good news for lots of parents and even better, for lots of kids, too more from a recent study published online in the journal Pediatrics.

The study concerned an allergy to penicillin, a drug which despite – maybe because of – the widespread availability of newer, more potent antibiotics is an antibiotic that is vastly under-used these days, a problem that is compounded by so many people claiming to have a penicillin allergy because of a story like “Well, I got a small rash (or a tummy ache or something else that is pretty vague) when I got penicillin a few years ago, and the doctor told me that I might be allergic and to never use it.”

So in this study, the researchers looked at 100 kids who had a history of penicillin allergy but who were deemed by the researchers to be low-risk for such a condition, and when these kids were tested with penicillin (safely, for sure), 100 % of these kids were deemed to be free of their allergy.

Two potential explanations: either these kids were never allergic, or they out-grew their allergy.

Bottom line: a lot of people who think they are allergic to penicillin probably are not, and they can safely use this still very useful medication when a situation requires it instead of the more powerful, more expensive antibiotics that are also more likely to produce complications and/or antibiotic-resistance.

However, a stern caution: this is not something that any parent – or kid – should decide for themselves but rather should discuss with a physician who can order appropriate testing.