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Millions of people across the globe mistakenly think they are allergic to Penicillin.

In 1928 Alexander Fleming, a Scottish Bacteriologist, working at the St. Mary’s Hospital in London returned from a holiday to find a mould overgrowing his staphylococci  culture that he had in a little bowl.  He immediately realised that what the mould was secreting was bacteriostatic.  The rest is history.

Approximately 6% of people in the United Kingdom had a Penicillin allergy label on their medical record.  This is, in keeping up with the population in mind, approximately four million people.  It has been found that 90% of these patients, who thought they were allergic to Penicillin, when tested, were in fact not allergic to Penicillin.

It was also found that people labelled with Penicillin allergy had a six per thousand increased deaths per year in treating infections that they might have suffered from.  This implies that certain infections respond better to Penicillin or only to Penicillin.  Certain types of Meningitis can only be treated affective with Penicillin.

You therefore don’t want to think you are allergic to Penicillin if in fact you are not.

A lot of patients think they are allergic to Penicillin because their parents told them that they had a rash as a child when they had Penicillin.  This is however a common recurrence and happens in approximately 20% of people who take Penicillin occasionally.  This is not an allergic rash but a skin rash.

In conclusion – what should you do if you think you are allergic to Penicillin or if your parents told you that you are allergic to Penicillin and you are wearing an arm band stating the above, but you have never actually verified this?  Discuss it with your doctor or Pharmacist and have a blood test done to determine if you have antibodies against Penicillin.  If this is negative, the chances that you are allergic to Penicillin are remote and you could actually dispel the notion to your benefit.