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Many labeled with penicillin allergies are not really allergic

Someone designated as allergic to penicillin in New Mexico might not really have the allergy. It's important to know that being misdiagnosed with this allergy could alter someone's health care for a lifetime. Less effective and more expensive alternative drugs might be necessary when patients have penicillin allergies.

However, some symptoms get labeled as allergic reactions when really they are common reactions to antibiotic treatments. A diagnosis of penicillin allergy could happen to someone during childhood and then stick with that person for life. Unless an allergist confirms a penicillin allergy, it could very well be a misdiagnosis. A survey conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that 80 percent of general practitioners rarely or never referred such patients to an allergist.

In addition, a genuine allergy to penicillin might also resolve and go away after five or 10 years. Someone diagnosed with the allergy could get tested by an allergist every few years to see if the allergy is still present. It's important for a patient to know their allergy status so that their drug treatment choices will not be limited unless necessary.

When a misdiagnosis causes someone to miss vital treatments or receive treatments for the wrong disease, conditions may get worse. A person confronted with this problem could speak with an attorney about whether a mistake should be considered medical malpractice. If a health care professional delivers substandard care, an attorney could file a lawsuit. The lawyer could manage negotiations with an insurer or prepare the case for a jury trial in an attempt to recover a settlement.

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