Penicillin skin testing can slow the development antibiotic resistance!

Antibiotic resistance is on the rise. That means in the near future there will be more and more infections with bacteria we can not effectively treat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States alone. The reason is overuse of antibiotics and drug allergy. Penicillin allergy alone is reported as high as 10% of the population. This allergy leads to use of alternative antibiotics (when a penicillin is the drug of choice), which in turn is associated with higher cost, greater risk for adverse effects, possibly longer hospitalization and as a consequence development of more resistant bacteria. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) therefore recommends the use of penicillin skin testing to identify true penicillin allergy and to determine whether continued avoidance of penicillin is necessary. In fact, 90% of individuals with suspected penicillin allergy have negative penicillin skin testing and can actually receive penicillins safely.
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