With our innovative penicillin allergy skin testing program, we’re here to help you navigate your allergy needs – so you can feel better and live well.
Think you're allergic to penicillin?
Roughly 10% of U.S. adults believe they have a penicillin allergy based on a childhood reaction – and less than 1% actually do. Even for those with a true penicillin allergy, 80% lose their sensitivity after 10 years. Our unique approach can help you determine if you’ve outgrown your allergy within the safety of Health First's Holmes Regional Medical Center as an outpatient service.
If your medical chart says you’re allergic to penicillin, you may need to use broad-spectrum antibiotics if treating an infection in the future– which can be more expensive, less effective, and may increase your risk of antibiotic resistance. If you have surgery, it can also raise your risk of surgical site infection. But if our testing shows you’re no longer allergic, you’ll be able to use first-line antibiotics and have peace of mind knowing you can safely use penicillin.
Testing can begin after we receive a referral from your provider, which can be sent via fax at 321.434.5211 or within the Athena portal. Then, in just a step-wise approach for safety, we can help you figure out if you’re penicillin-allergic.
- Scratch test. With small pricks to the skin, providers can determine your sensitivity by applying PRE-PEN (a penicillin derivative), diluted Penicillin G, saline, and a histamine control. After 15 minutes, your skin is checked. If no reaction is noted, you’ll move on to the next test.
- Intradermal test. Sodium chloride, PRE-PEN, and Penicillin G are injected beneath the skin (five injections total). After 15 minutes, the injection sites are measured with a ruler. Testing is stopped if the sites have grown 3 mm or larger. If you don’t have a reaction, you’ll move on to the last test.
- Oral amoxicillin challenge. In this final test, you’ll receive a small oral dose of amoxicillin and then monitored for 60 minutes for any allergic reaction. If you don’t have a reaction, you’ll know that you’ve outgrown your penicillin allergy.