Q&A: Should I be worried if my child has allergies to medications?
We recently discovered that our child is allergic to penicillin (she breaks out in nasty hives). Our doctor seems rather unconcerned by this. But don't we need to get formal testing and have a medical alert bracelet issued?
There are many instances where a child may be labeled as allergic to a medication, when he or she may be experiencing side effects or sensitivity rather than a true allergy. If a child is labeled unnecessarily as allergic, this can lead to your child being put on stronger and often times more expensive mediation than is really necessary.
Some side effects of medications can include, upset stomach, nausea , or diarrhea. With a true allergy, other symptoms can include severe itching, rash, hives—and in some serious cases, breathing difficulty. If you think your child is truly allergic, you might want to talk to your pediatrician about having your child diagnosed by an allergy specialist. Formal testing will give you a definitive answer. If in fact your child is diagnosed with a true allergy, a bracelet is a good idea, and something that your doctor or the allergy specialist may discuss with you.
There are many alternative choices that you doctor will consider when treating your child for something where penicillin may have been the first choice. Dr. Lori Storch-Smith, a pediatrician from Westport, Connecticut, says, “There are many alternatives depending on what you are treating. Choices include: Cephalosporins, Macrolides, Tetracyclines, Fluoroquinolones. The alternatives can definitely be effective depending on what you are treating.”