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About Penicillin


Penicillin is a group of antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi. Penicillin antibiotics are historically important because they are the first drugs that were efficient against many until that time fatal diseases such as syphilis and Staphylococcus infections. Penicillin is still widely used today, though about 10% of Americans report an allergy to penicillin or related antibiotics. This makes penicillin allergy the most common drug allergy.

An allergy is an overreaction of an immune system to normally harmless environmental substances, in this case, to penicillin and related antibiotics.

An allergic reaction often varies from a rash to anaphylactic shock – a severe and sometimes fatal condition.

Symptoms of penicillin allergy

In many patients, some symptoms of the penicillin allergy may occur even if they are not allergic to penicillin. It is not so uncommon to have a simple reaction to penicillin that is often manifested as a rash. This should not be confused with an allergy. Symptoms of allergic reaction include hives, rash, itchy skin, wheezing, swollen lips tongue or face.

Anaphylactic reactions

Anaphylactic reaction is an extremely severe reaction to penicillin. This is a life-threatening condition that may develop immediately after the person gets in contact with penicillin. Signs of anaphylactic reaction include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and significant drop in blood pressure, swelling of the throat or tongue, dizziness, loss of consciousness, rapid or weak pulse.

It is of extreme importance to seek emergency medical help upon any suspicions about someone’s anaphylactic reaction. The prompt reaction may save the patient’s life. Moreover, it is advised to inform a doctor even upon noticing mild reactions after talking penicillin.

Causes

The body may sometimes react to penicillin, as it is a harmful substance. Normally helpful remedy is in that case marked as an opponent and the immune system overreacts, producing the immunoglobulin E antibodies to fight it. Chemicals released by the body provoke signs and symptoms that respond to an allergic reaction.

Penicillin, from the family of beta-lactam antibiotics, is very effective in treatment of many bacterial infections. The penicillin is relatively cheap drug and works against skin, ear, sinus and upper respiratory infections. Penicillin stops the growth of bacteria and helps the immune system to fight the infection. A person allergic to one type of penicillin is most commonly allergic to all other penicillin-related antibiotics. The most prominent drugs from the penicillin family are Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Dicloxacillin, Penicillin G, Penicillin V, Piperacillin and Tazobactam.

It is noteworthy to mention that some people allergic to penicillin may experience allergic reactions to cephalospornis, too.

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