Many North Carolina residents were once diagnosed with a penicillin allergy as a child, but many have outgrown it. When children break out into a rash after they are given penicillin, they will usually have a penicillin allergy written in their medical records. Unless they are retested for a penicillin allergy at a later date, the record of the allergy will follow them into adulthood.
A study on the misdiagnosis of penicillin allergy was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's 2016 annual meeting. Researchers noted that 90 percent of people who have been diagnosed as penicillin allergic are actually able to tolerate it without going into anaphylactic shock. People may be misdiagnosed with penicillin allergies, or they may outgrow childhood penicillin allergies.
A person who has been labeled as penicillin allergic could end up being given antibiotics that are less effective or have more severe side effects than penicillin. To test a person for penicillin allergy, a doctor can perform a simple skin test followed by a supervised low-dose of oral penicillin. If people have no allergic reaction during the three-hour process, they will be able to take penicillin in the future.
A misdiagnosis of an antibiotic allergy may result in patients being prescribed a drug that is not the appropriate one for the actual bacterial infections that they have. In some cases, this may lead to a worsened medical condition that requires additional expensive treatment. Those who have been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse may be available to them.