• By Deborah Balzer

Can you pass the penicillin allergy quiz?

September 28, 2018

Penicillin fungi in petri dishes in a research lab
Penicillin was discovered on Sept. 28, 1928. Many people mistakenly believe they are allergic to this class of antibiotics. Over-reporting can lead to a number of problems including increased antibiotic resistance. Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and member of the Mayo Clinic Antimicrobial Stewardship Group says it's important to know if you are truly allergic. A penicillin allergy can be severe and rare.

Watch: Can you pass the penicillin culture quiz?

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Penicillin has saved millions of lives since scientist Alexander Fleming's discovery 90 years ago.

And today penicillin is the most commonly reported drug allergy. How much do you know about this antibiotic? Take this culture quiz and find out.

Here's the first question:

True or false: Nine out of 10 patients reporting a penicillin allergy are not truly allergic?

True.

Common reasons people incorrectly report an allergy include blaming common symptoms caused by viruses like diarrhea or rashes on the medication. And people cite a family history of penicillin allergy.

Question No. 2:

True or false: You can never outgrow a penicillin allergy?

False, Approximately 50 percent of people will outgrow a penicillin allergy within five years, and 80 percent outgrow it within 10 years.

And No. 3 is a multiple choice:

People who have a penicillin allergy listed in their medical records are more likely to:

A. Have treatment failure

B. Develop a postsurgical infection

C. Be treated with a more toxic and/or expensive antibiotic

D. More likely to develop an infection with resistant bacteria

E. All of the above

Did you choose "E?" Good. All of these are correct.

When your health care providers cannot prescribe the first-choice antibiotic for your infection because of a listed allergy, it may lead to other risks.

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