January 5, 2012

Penicillin Allergy

Upside of Googling images of rashes: really puts child's scary rash into perspective. Downside of Googling images of rashes: OMG OMG OMG AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

This morning Edward has what looks like a bunch of mosquito bites on his leg, joined up the way they get when there are a lot of bites close together. And he's on amoxicillin, and the stuff I read about allergic reactions said it's very hard for a layperson to tell the difference between a scary-looking but non-allergic rash and a scary-looking but allergic rash, so I'm not giving him this morning's amoxicillin until I get it checked out, and I'll call the doctor's office as soon as it opens. And I gave him benadryl.

I also got everyone else ready early, in case we suddenly need to zoom to the emergency room. It makes me feel better to feel READY, even if I think the likelihood of needing that readiness is LOW. I'm trying to imagine how I'd feel if I had to go to the ER but Elizabeth's hair was still like cotton candy, and she wasn't dressed, and no one could find shoes, and Henry had breakfast on his face. No, better to get ready just in case. It's not like we'll WASTE the getting-ready: they still need to do it.

********

Rash has spread to his cheeks and ears. This part isn't mosquito-bite-like, just very red and rashy. Mosquito-bite stuff spreading up his legs and down his ankles. He's itchy, but cool washcloths and the benadryl seem to have helped quite a bit. Still no breathing issues, and no rash on his torso.

********

We're back from the pediatrician's. It was a little dramatic: I called the nurse at opening time and told her what was going on and she said "...How soon can you get here? Can you come in right now?" So it WAS good I had everyone totally ready. Apparently saying "amoxicillin" and "rash" together is like saying "middle-aged man" and "chest pains" together.

And it looks like it is indeed a penicillin allergy, luckily without any breathing issues involved this time. But now he has a red sticker on his chart. I asked if he could go back to school today and the doctor said yes---but he hesitated before saying it. And then when I got home and started to write the note to the teacher I reconsidered and decided to just keep him home. I'd like to watch him, and also he looks DREADFUL: anyone seeing him would assume he had an apocalyptic disease and was spreading it to all the other children. The school would have the doctor's note, but the other parents wouldn't know.

Interesting thing the doctor said: that some people are only allergic to the LIQUID form of penicillin, but can take the capsules later on with no trouble. Hm. But probably most people wouldn't want to EXPERIMENT with that.

Here is something I'd like to know: is penicillin allergy hereditary? Paul's mother claimed that Paul was allergic to penicillin, so of course Paul has had to say so to all his doctors over the years, and it's been a bit of a hassle. (When he went in with strep last week, the doctor said "Any allergies to medications?" and he said "Penicillin" and she said "WRONG ANSWER.")

But Paul's mother also diagnosed Paul's sister with many food allergies, and never got doctor confirmation for any of them (and either his sister outgrew them all or else she never had them to begin with), so it's a little hard to say---especially since when I was looking things up online I found there can be a very scary-looking non-itchy rash from amoxicillin that DOESN'T mean allergy. And yet if I'd seen that rash on one of my children, I definitely would have assumed allergy. So I'm wondering if that's what she did. When she was alive I tried to ask her more about it, but she just kept stating that he WAS allergic, be-LEEEVE her he was allergic, and I got nowhere.

...I've been kind of rambling all around, and it's losing the questions which are the POINT of this post, so I'm going to put them here, on their own:

1. Are penicillin allergies hereditary?

2. Wait, I guess that was my only question.

57 comments:

Susan said...

I think they're hereditary- I'm allergic, my brother's allergic, my husband's allergic (not that we're related!), and one of our daughters is allergic. I've heard both that they are and they aren't, but at least in our family it's coming down pretty hard on the hereditary side. And we're not allergic to anything else, any of us.

Antiangie said...

I guess I don't know, because the last time I had amoxicillin, at age 34, after having had it several times before, I got hives just like Edward's, and now *I* have the red sticker too. I had never had a reaction before, and to my knowledge no one in my family is allergic. So I'm guessing there may be several components to the allergic response.

M&Co. said...

I don't think it's hereditary so much as it tends to run in families. For instance I have two brothers and a sister. I am the only one allergic to penicillin. And my mother diagnoised me the same way Tate's mother diagnoised him.

Alicia said...

In answer to your question, I have no idea.

But... My brother is allergic to penicillin (he is 10 years younger, so I still remember the poor thing with the rash all over his body, legs swollen so he couldn't walk, aww). Anyway, I read recently that a lot of people who are allergic to penicillin as children actually outgrow it and can take penicillin as adults. But yes, how would they know, since they're not allowed to take penicillin?

I am allergic to a super-cephalosporin (reaction happened as an adult) but not any other penicillin/cephalosporin derivatives. It freaks some doctors out, but I really, really have always been fine with every other penicillin/cephalosporin. I always wonder how much of these things are individual predispositions that are then taken as directives for how to deal with other situations. Ugh. Medical establishment.

JoAnna said...

Well, my father and brother are both allergic, and my son is as well. (He got amoxicillin for an ear infection at sixish months old and rapidly broke out into bright red spots. Very scary.)

Melissa said...

My mom is allergic to penicillin, and my older brother had an AWFUL reaction to it, so I have avoided taking it. I'm not down as a penicillin allergy, but I tell new doctors this info and they stay away from prescribing it.

My youngest son was on Augmentin and broke out in hives, and so now he's a red sticker too. I had one doctor and one pharmacist tell me that there's a binder in Augmentin that can cause the same allergic reaction, so we don't actually know if he's allergic to the penicillin or the binder. However, when I suggested that we give him penicillin one time to test this, they reacted in a way that would have made you think I'd suggested that we give him cyanide tablets to be taken with a swig of bourbon. Apparently, once there's a hive reaction to penicillin, they take it VERY seriously.

CherylAlanna said...

I think that with any allergy having a family history increases your likelihood of having it yourself. It doesn't mean that it's a guarantee that you will, nor would no family history guarantee that you're in the clear.

My brother has a ton of allergies. Dogs, cats, trees, cut grass, penicillin, and and and...

I have practically no allergies (maybe some seasonal, but that could be my cruddy luck with colds.)

My daughter is allergic to dogs, penicillin (a minor reaction similar to your situation, but knowing the family history I had made my doc aware of it just in case) and she has had skin reactions to peanut butter and onions. Oh, and shrimp. Her father, as far as I know, has seasonal allergies and can't do onions.

Fun stuff.
Not.

CARRIE said...

I have no idea, but I'd just like to insert how back in the day when we were young-uns, they just assumed stuff and didn't have all these new-fangled technologies (geez, it sounds like I live in the mountains with no teeth in my head.)

Like my grandpa who died in 1938 when he was 40. They said he had a "fatty heart." That is what it said on his death certificate. What the hell? Is that congenital? Did he just eat too much pork? So things like that make it rather difficult for us modern folk to understand whether we have an actual potential health issue or not.

missris said...

I'm not sure if it's hereditary, but my sister and I both were allergic when we were little kids (and found out the hard, rash-y way). Funnily enough, you can grow out of a penicillin allergy, which she has. Now she's no longer allergic to it and gets to take it again. I, unfortunately, was not quite as lucky and am still allergic.

Di said...

I agree - it tends to run in familes. I am allergic, as is my dad and evidently my mother-in-law, but my husband is not. Claire recently had her first course of Augmentin, and broke out in a harmless rash all over her body -pink spots that faded and then spread so that she looked like she'd been in the sun too long. Apparently very common with Augmentin, but doesn't mean she's allergic, or that she will necessarily become so.

Another thing to be cautious of with a penecillin allergy - moldy cheese. The stuff that makes cheese so funky (like the bleu in bleu cheese or the stuff on brie) is a penecillium mold as well. As I found out one night while dating my now-husband and I broke out in hives and we had to leave a date.

Allyson said...

I have taken several different antibiotics throughout my life and never had an issue. But the last few times I've had Augmentin I've gotten hives. I'm not sure if it's a true allergy or not. But the beauty is now that I've got that on my file I get a Z-Pack instead. Which means 6 pills over 5 days instead of 20 pills over 10 days like I always had with Augmentin. So it's a win for me.

Jenny said...

My husband is allergic to penicillin, and my son isn't, which is good because he gets stuff that penicillin helps all the time. There's another data point for you!

Christina said...

I'm allergic to penicillin. It developed later in life, I would say maybe age 12 or 13? I had taken it years and years and years (I had lots of ear infections growing up) and then that last time it affected me.

Mine was like mosquito bites and kind of a weird antsy feeling and hot/cold flashes. We didn't connect the dots right away so I had a few more doses. It eventually ended up kind of like a body suit with the trunk of my body and half arms and legs with red spots, itchy. I took benedryl and it was fine. Have not had anything penicillin related since.

I am the only person in my immediate family and (I think) on either side of my family allergic to penicillin. I haven't heard of any other family members with this problem or allergy.

-R- said...

I'm so glad you were monitoring Edward so closely and that he is ok!

I've always assumed the allergy can be hereditary.

Carmen said...

Arrrgh, I think my comment was lost somehow. Maybe my hair trigger in closing your pop-up comment window? Sigh.

The gist?

1) I hope Edward is feeling better soon. That, plus strep? Ugghh.

2) Googling rashes is horrifying. Kieran had some horrible rash in Sept. It was sort of like hives, but not hives. Sort of like target lesions, but not. Kind of like mosquitos, but where would we have found THAT many mosquitos. Appearing & disappearing, but not quickly enough to be hives. Argh. I spent 8 days googling and then it completely disappeared in the course of about 10 hours. Sheesh.

3) I don't really know the answer to your question. I have always thought that the tendency to be allergic was hereditary, but that the actual items to which a person turned out to be allergic was not hereditary.

meanliving said...

When my second kid was about 6-8 months old, he developed some sort of weird rashy-looking thing. They were wheals (like this photo, but not this bad: http://tinyurl.com/6p4a4qd). They persisted for weeks and weeks (months, I think?) and we took him to a pediatric allergist who didn't have any idea what they were. Somewhere along the line I was told or read that certain people will develop these wheals in response to antibiotics (not sure which type). He HAD been on antibiotics for strep (which babies are not supposed to get, but I know several that HAVE), which is a type of infection that can ALSO cause weird systemic rashy things. His rash cleared up over the course of several weeks with no revision to what we had been doing, which was to slather him with Eucerin.

He has since had amoxicillin a few times with no ill effects.

So, all of this is my random, boring, long-winded way of saying that I don't think anyone has a flying flip what goes on with immune systems. Also, my mom thought that I had a severe peanut allergy when I was an infant--having given me two PB-containing foods and seen me go pale and limp. She made the peanut connection after the second incident, but there was no hospital trip for either and at some point she started feeding me PB again. I eat it with wild abandon now.

Times are different now for parents, that's for sure.

Beylit said...

You can grow into and out of allergies all the time. I spent from 20 to 30 allergic to fresh fruit.

I am actually not allergic to penicillin but I am allergic to most penicillin based drugs. Very weird I know and it annoys the hell out of my doctors. If they want to give me straight out penicillin its fine, but give me amoxicillin and I have a wretchedly violent reaction to it. So does my mother come to think of it.

I don't know if any allergies are hereditary though. I have never looked into it. I really hope not or my children are in for a rough time considering my allergy history.

Swistle said...

Di- OH!! I hadn't even THOUGHT of the penicillin in mold! Interesting!

Misty said...

I believe being prone to allergies is hereditary, but not necessarily allergic to specific things.

According to literature from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, "...Inherited genetic tendencies of the immune system to develop allergies may also be important. Contrary to popular myth, however, a family history of reaction to a specific drug does not mean that a patient has an increased chance of reacting to the same drug."

MoMMY said...

My dad was allergic, I am allergic but neither my brother nor my kids are allergic to penicillin. I've been told it's not hereditary but really? Who knows? As far as the penicillin allergy is concerned, I stopped breathing as a baby when they gave it to me. Funny how now doctors always say things like, "too bad, that is the drug you should be taking" (in such a way that makes it seem like I'm a huge PITA) or "are you SUUUURE you're allergic?" "Do you remember when you stopped breathing?" "What kind of reaction did you have?" and the always wonderful, "well you might not be anymore." Sorry, but I'm not willing to find out. Yes, I'd love to go home and take a dose and DIE IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN.

Sorry, it's been many years of such comments and it drives me insane. Glad you had it taken care of. Also, I am not allergic to cheeses like blue cheese or others but am sensitive to other molds. No idea why regarding the cheese.

Shalini said...

I...don't know. My dad is allergic but neither my brother or I are. (But I *am* allergic to tetracyclines, so who knows.)

liz said...

I think allergies in general are hereditary, but your specific allergy can differ.

Like, I'm allergic to sulfa and to animal hair. My sister is allergic to shellfish, and my son is allergic to amoxicillin.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I haven't read any other comments because I am so eager to comment! myself, so here goes:

1. My husband is allergic to penicillin. I am allergic to cephalosporins. So I am fond of saying, "Boy, I hope our future kids aren't allergic to BOTH!" Recently, I said this and my husband looked at me and said, "You really need to stop saying that. Medicine allergies don't work that way."

And THEN! I had a headache and he recommended aspirin, and I said I've never had aspirin because my mom is allergic to it, and she and I are so similar in EVERY WAY that we didn't want to risk my being allergic too. And he did some Severe Eye Rolling and again with the "it doesn't work that way!"

So!

Okay, I guess that only IMPLIES that medicine allergies aren't genetic. I can't recall if he said, straight up, "medicine allergies are NOT genetic."

2. My mother-in-law ALSO diagnosed her kids with allergies to food! My husband had "severe" allergies to peas and strawberries. Until he accidentally ate some peas with no ill effects. And then, one morning, at a brunch with three other physicians, he tried strawberries. NO ALLERGY! I suppose you can OUTGROW allergies, but I suspect it may have been a case of "I don't know for SURE the explanation for this rash/GI distress/etc, so I am going to blame the last food he ate!"


This was a very long comment for how unhelpful it turned out to be.

Crystal said...

I wouldn't think they are genetic but perhaps one would be more prone to allergies if their parents had one. My sister was allergic to things and I nor my parents have any allergies to anything.....wait I'm allergic to cats but nobody else it. Anywho, I hope the kiddo gets better soon.

Maggie said...

Allergies are not hereditary. But it's common for people to say "well I can't take XXX because my mom/dad/sister/whatever has a severe allergy" so often physicians will stay away from whatever XXX is.

It's common for children to outgrown their allergies. It's also common for the allergy to be to one of the binding agents in the medicine, which is why someone might be allergic to the liquid form of something but not the IV form or the pill form or whatever. If you ever need to receive a medicine that you are allergic to, you are given a slow taper to desensitize you, then given the treatment course for whatever problem you have. But you have to be desensitized every time, it doesn't work forever.

It's also not uncommon for allergies to develop with something that you have had a million times before. So, you know, go figure.

Kira said...

Allergies are weird. WEIRD. My eldest son is allergic to everything. When he got allergy tested, he reacted to EVERY SINGLE TEST, except ponderosa pine, and the doc said if she'd done the second level of testing, she guaranteed he'd react to that.
BUT he has never reacted to penicillin, even though I am allergic to it. But then again, I took it just fine until the middle of a 10 day course for strep. And then one morning I took my pill, and immediately started swelling up and wheezing. Luckilly, actually, I was babysitting for 6 year old twins, which is only lucky because their house was a 5 minute drive from the hospital, rather than the HOUR drive from our house. Both the mother of the twins and my mother worked at the hospital, and when I called my mom and wheezed, "I just took my pill, and I'm having trouble breathing," they both raced to the house in AMAZING time.
I passed out just as we got to the emergency room. It was very dramatic, which was almost worth it all for a 15 year old girl.
I've heard that most people who have an allergic reaction to penicillin are not, in fact always allergic. But I'm not eager to try it again.

Laura Diniwilk said...

I don't *think* they are hereditary but I'm only 1/4 dr. I am in the same boat as Paul - I am "allergic" to both penicillin and erythromycin, but my mom can never really remember what exactly happened when I was on them. I tell doctors this and they still won't chance putting me on it. Red sticker for life!

aibee said...

You can get a rash from penicillin based antibiotics if you have mono, and you can be infected with mono and not be all "I'm so ill, CLEARLY I HAVE MONO". You might just have a sore throat or something infecty-symptom-ish that your doctor might treat with amoxicillin. Which could then give you a rash that could make you believe you were allergic to penicillin based antibiotics for life, when really, it was the mono + amoxicillin combo that gave you a rash for that one short mono infected period in your life.

vanessa said...

That was a VERY TENSE blog post.

FWIW, I was allergic w a rash to cephalosporin and penicillan/sulfa as a young kid. And then when I had strep for five straight months I went to the allergist and got tested for the cephalosporin, which I was not allergic to anymore, and apparently I'm PROBABLY also not allergic to pen. any more either, but they can;t test for that. (I am REALLY SUPER allergic to Cipro, which we discovered the hard way!) BUt both my parents are--literally--deathly allergic to pen., so I dont screw aroiund with it.

JodieG said...

I am allergic to penicillin diagnosed in Feb 2010. I say diagnosed because I broke out in a rash after taking a full course of Penicillin and 1/2 of cipro (I was a very sick puppy). The allergist did a skin test. So perhaps you know if you really wanted to know if Paul was allergic or if Edward was, you could theoretically have them tested.

I have no idea if it is genetic. No one else in my family is allergic to penicillin, but I have more allergies than anyone else in my family.

Erica said...

According to my pediatrician, drugs allergies are, indeed, hereditary. I am allergic to penicillin and so was my mom. In fact, I am allergic to 5 antibiotics and my mother was also allergic to the same 5. We have differing levels of allergy, though. The ones that cause anaphylaxis for me, didn't for her and vise versa.

Neither one of my kids are allergic to penicillin; however, but we aren't giving them the 2 that cause anaphylaxis in me just to be on the safe side.

LiciaLee said...

So I have no clue about the drug allergies, but just wanted to share that OMG I COMPLETELY understand the rash googling. :O. DD had (what I thought) was a bad diaper rash, so off to google I went. On the one hand, her rash was no longer stressing me that much, on the other hand those pictures made me want to cry for those poor babies. AHHH. Google.. I both love and hate you.

Gentle Blue Mom said...

My 6 year old daughter is allergic to the 'cillins - she was about 15 months old and she broke out in horrid hives and welts all over her torso and body when she was on her second round of antibiotics to kick pneumonia. She has the glaring sticker in her chart and when we've gone to the emergency room a few times, she gets to wear the red braclet. The only other family members who have an issue to the 'cillins are my dad and sister - my dad didn't have an allergic reaction until he was 61 years old and my sister was in her young 30s.

Hotch Potchery said...

Mr. P is allergic, my kids not. That's as much as I know.

Groovymarlin said...

I'm not sure, but like some others mentioned before me, I had amoxicillin and/or penicillin several times in my life, and then in my 30s it was prescribed for something and I developed an allergy to it. All those times taking it, no problem, and then suddenly I'm allergic to it. And my allergic reaction, as always, was a horribly itchy, profuse rash. Luckily, no problems with breathing though.

Drug allergies are so weird. I found out the hard way that I was allergic to clindamycin in the oral form, by getting a rash from it. But I've used it topically since then with no issues at all.

So far, my daughter has no allergies of any kind (fingers crossed).

Jessica said...

Both of my parents are allergic to penicillin, but I'm not. Neither are my two sisters. Of course, both parents are allergic in the because-my-mom-says-so way. I don't know exactly why either of their mothers think they're allergic or if the allergies were confirmed by doctors.

When I was pregnant the first time and my doctor was running the Group B Strep test he asked if I was allergic to penicillin, since that's what they prefer to give if the test is positive. (Longest sentence ever!) I said I wasn't, but both my parents are, so is there any chance the BABY might be? He thought that was extremely unlikely. Though he might have partially been basing that on the fact that, according to him, very few of the people in my parents' generation who are "allergic" to penicillin actually ARE.

My daughter has had penicillin with no ill effects. My son hasn't taken it yet.

Jessica said...

Oh, and by that he meant 50 years ago, any rash while on penicillin was called an allergy.

Nik-Nak said...

My sister is allergic to penicillin (as well as wasps) and neither of her kids are.
Come to think of it her husband is deathly allergic to tree nuts but the kids aren't.
I'm allergic to milk but no one else in my family is.
Based on my own scientific research I'm going to say that allergies (in my opinion) are not hereditary.
Disclaimer:
Take with grain of salt please.

phancymama said...

I had mono when I was 15, but before we knew it was mono (thought it was strep maybe?) I was given a penicillin based drug and sure enough, had the all over crazy rash. The doctors told me that it was a reaction of the drug to the disease (MOST LIKELY) but to always still say I am allergic to penicillin. So I still tell the whole story, and then they still mark me as allergic.

Also, I have grown out of a lot of food allergies--or rather, I've gone through phases in my life where my food allergies are more severe and times when they are minimal.

Oh, and my dad is maybe allergic to penicillin, but no one can remember why. So, not much help there. I am intrigued by the scratch test for it. I've had that for a billion other allergens, but would like to check the penicillin.

Anonymous said...

As a pediatrician I can tell you that it's not hereditary but just really common (due to the nature of the compound). I would not worry about the other kids at all. Thankfully with only a rash he should be fine to take other related medicaitons like the cephalosporins should they ask when he's older.

bluedaisy said...

I think there is a hereditary component. I am allergic (had a reaction as a baby) and neither of my parents are. Although my dad is allergic to Sulfa drugs. So far none of my kids are allergic.
I can't believe Paul's doctor has given him a hard time. Any time I've reported the allergy, they just ask what the reaction is, I tell them I got a rash as a baby and there are no further questions. Does his doctor really want to gamble with that when there are alternatives? I find that an annoying attitude in a doctor...although I know you mentioned recently that you can't just switch practices. Glad that your son is okay!!

Anonymous said...

I had a reaction to penicillin as a baby so I was told to say I was allergic if asked. My dr said many people outgrow it and unless I had a reaction as an adult I didn't really need to worry about it. So I had surgery and was asked if I had an allergy and I said "I may be allergic to penicillin" the anesthesiologist said ok, I'm going to give you some xxxx drug, only 5% of the people allergic to penicillin have a reaction to this drug, so I'm sure you'll be fine. I woke up with hives and a very sore throat from breathing issues. never saw that anesthesiologist again......hmmm, now I say, YES I am allergic.

Swistle said...

bluedaisy- Oh, his doctors haven't given him a hard time about it at all (in that one anecdote, she was being funny)---it's just a hassle that he always has to say it at every appointment, and it has to get marked on all his paperwork, and he has to wear the bracelet if he has surgery, and it means some hm-hm-hm-ing when he has something that's ideally treated with penicillin (like strep, which he had last week) and the doctor has to think of a different, possibly-less-effective alternative. They've been super good about it, though, and have never ever raised their eyebrows or doubted the allergy or tried to get him to take anything else. (They're good with THAT, anyway!)

Josefina said...

I don't know, but my mom is allergic to penicillin and I just had my first allergic reaction to it last winter. Before that, I was always fine. I'm 35, so it took a while.

My father is allergic to sulfa drugs and so far I'm okay with those.

Therese said...

After taking amoxicillin multiple times during childhood with no problem, I took it for pneumonia in college and was never sicker in my whole life. Vomiting, rash, swollen joints... I looked like a circus freak from the rash for days! Anyway, now that I have children, I'm worried as I don't want them to have a reaction but all of our doctors say that it's not hereditary. My daughter started amoxicillin last night so I'll definitely be watching her closely the next few days. I should also say that neither my parents or any of my 4 siblings have the allergy.

My doctors also seem irritated (not at me, just the situation) when I need an antibiotic and can't have anything in the penicillin family. This was especially true when I was pregnant and there are so few options to begin with.

Gina said...

I apparently have a penicillin allergy, but it was something that was decided when I was an infant (and wasn't any crazy life-threatening reaction) and it drives me crazy now that every time I go to the doctor and they start asking me questions about it, I have no answers. They will ask what my reaction was, but how the heck do I know - I was a baby!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm mostly a lurker but I think you're brilliant and hilarious and I probably should have commented sooner. Anyway, my hubby has a penicillin allergy (the one time I witnessed the reaction he broke out in crazy awful, full body hives) and because of that, our ped has never prescribed it to my daughters. When the oldest had her first ear infection he said, "Does she have any allergies?", and hubby said, "Oh I don't know...But I'm allergic to penicillin." And they've never given it to eithe kid since. So maybe it is heeditary.

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

My husband is allergic to penicillin but when I mentioned that to the kids' pediatrician they seem to be staying from the -icillin antibiotics (but not always?) so that doesn't really help you at all. But, I am proud of myself that I got my hubby one of those Road ID tags for his running shoes and remembered to include Penicillin allergy on it. (I always worry when he goes for a run--what if something happens and they don't know who he is or how to contact me??!!!)

Sam said...

My husband told me he was allergic to a painkiller because he threw up in the period of time he took it. But he had just undergone surgery, so I call "bullshit" and "not confirmed."

Firegirl said...

I'm allergic to it, actually all antibiotics. So: fun!

The rest of the family is/hasn't much been on them so I initially thought no. But then when my dad was sick, he had allergic reactions to the antibiotics.

So, without proof of any kind beyond that, I think allergies are hereditary!

Ms. Key said...

My mom is allergic to penicillin, it happened to her later in life when she was a teenager though (I think she was fine taking it as a kid, then the allergy just developed, the ways some allergies do). No one else in our family is allergic to it though! My two siblings and myself? Fine.

My mom was only allergic to the penicillin family, and then in her 40s she reacted to another type of medication so now she has the medical bracelet for both (I can't recall the second type). Needless to say, antibiotics make her nervous, LOL. BUT, none of us have ever had to worry about it. She has 6 brothers, and none of them have drug allergies either. Just her! (And not her parents or grandparents before them).

I don't know what that means, but it's just another example I guess. Doesn't seem to be hereditary for us, knock on wood.

Hope Edward will be okay! Good thing you were keeping an eye on it. My mom always has benadryl in the house *just in case*, and despite being allergan free myself I'll always do the same when I have kids. Smart!

Raven said...

I'm allergic to penicillin but I found that out through allergy testing. I'm also allergic to Bactrim which is another antibiotic and is sulfa based. Sprog is allergic to Ceftin which is also an antibiotic so at the very least, where one parent is allergic to an antibiotic, the kid has a chance (even if it's a different one) of being allergic too.

In my case though, I'm allergic to almost everything yet Sprog seems fine with everything else I am allergic to.

twisterfish said...

So sorry you're dealing with all this.... it's so scary.

I had to stop taking penicillin because (my hypothesis) I had it so often as a young child. It's considered an allergic reaction because it was only a rash -- nothing internal. Then ceftin did the same for me and then I had serious issues (internal) with all sulfa based drugs. I think this is why doctors today don't want to over prescribe antibiotics.

Hoping everyone feels better soon.

Anonymous said...

So scary. I hope that he is feeling better. I wanted to give you more questions to ask your doctor.

2) Would (s)he consider this a drug allergy or a drug sensitivity?

3) What strain of penicillin did Edward take?

4) What are the alternative strains of penicillin that would/could work for Edward?

5) For documenting Edward's medical history on future forms, what should be annotated?

I have a drug sensitivity to a certain strain of penicillin. I travel a lot. I didn't want to take the entire spectrum of penicillin off of the table. At least one of the doctors I had wouldn't let me travel without knowing exactly what to say to other doctors. Just something to consider. Don't know if it is relevant.

Anonymous said...

NOT hereditary - I have had this discussion with MANY different doctors (each time I am prescribed antibiotics!) because my sister is allergic. I am not.

My mom thinks that my sister might not actually be allergic to penicillin, but when she was given it (one time, a LONG time ago), it was still made from/in an egg base, and she thinks maybe it was actually an egg allergy (not uncommon in babies).

Laurie said...

Penicillina allergies can be hereditary. Also, people who are allergice to penicillins have a small chance of also being allergic to another group of antibiotics called cephalasporins (Keflex for example). This also goes vice-versa. I don't know if anyone mentioned that already because I didn't read through all the comments. Allergies can lessen over time but people can also develop allergies over time. So if he had that reaction to penicillin, he should never take any antibiotic in the penicillin family. He could always try again when he's older I suppose, but there is a chance that he could have an even worse reaction, so.....there are just so many other antibiotics out there that aren't penicillin, it just might never be necessary.

Star Lyte Princess said...

I have severe penicillin & cephalosporin (and everything they are related to) allergies, and was diagnosed as a child after being rushed to the ER for an Epi shot... I almost stopped breathing, my throat was swelling closed, lucky for me, we were close to the ER and they were ear drops instead of an oral medication (according to the oncall doctor). My father and his mother are also both allergic to it, only not as severly as I am. My oldest son is allergic to it, but not my youngest, so i am convinced it runs in the family.