Penicillin allergy is much less common than most people think. Many studies show that 80-90% of people with a penicillin allergy on their chart test negative for penicillin allergy. This is either because they lost their sensitivity or because they never were truly allergic.

Patients with a label of penicillin allergy on their chart have been shown to require longer, more complicated hospitalizations for common infections. Without the ability to use the common penicillin family of antibiotics, broad spectrum antibiotics are used instead. These medications are much more expensive and can lead to developing a drug-resistant infection.

Why is penicillin testing important during the pandemic? There is widespread concern about a possible surge in coronavirus infections in the fall as we head into the typical cold and flu season and schools and businesses open again. By removing the penicillin allergy label, patients who develop routine bacterial infections during a time when hospital resources are in high demand may be able to avoid longer, more complicated hospitalizations during these uncertain times.

Why do testing outdoors?

Unfortunately, due to the precautions we must take during the pandemic to prevent virus transmission, we are limited to very few penicillin testing appointments in our modified schedule. However, concern for virus transmission is much lower outdoors due to constantly moving air and more space to adhere to social distancing. We have a large shaded area near our building where several patients can bring lawn chairs to relax outdoors during the waiting periods during the skin testing and oral challenge required for the test. Nurses are stationed at a table outdoors near patients to administer the tests and observe results.

Our first outdoor penicillin allergy testing session cleared every patient of their penicillin allergy label! Read more about it here.

Interested in outdoor penicillin testing?

Clearing your chart of a penicillin allergy diagnosis can save you money and keep you healthier. However, outdoor testing during the pandemic poses some challenges, so we would like to gather some information from patients about their interest in this program. If you think outdoor testing would work well for you, please fill out the no-commitment form below, and we will contact you with additional information regarding scheduling an appointment during our next session.

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Want to learn even more about penicillin allergy? Check out our penicillin allergy page to learn more about the testing process and download addiitonal resources about penicillin allergy.