(HealthDay News) —  Many children suspected of being allergic to penicillin actually aren’t, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

David Vyles, DO, an attending pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues analyzed questionnaires from 597 parents of children aged 4 to 18 that described their child’s reported allergy symptoms. The families came to an urban pediatric emergency department over a span of 19 months.

The researchers found that 302 of the children had previously experienced low-risk symptoms for penicillin allergy, including rash, vomiting, or diarrhea, according to parents. Of those, 100 children were tested for penicillin allergy using a standard, 3-part testing process. All 100 children tested were found not to be allergic to penicillin and had the designation removed from their medical record.

“Our results suggest that low-risk symptoms of parent-reported penicillin allergy in the pediatric emergency department do not correspond to true allergy when evaluated by the standard 3-tier testing process,” the authors write. “Utilization of this questionnaire in the pediatric emergency department may facilitate increased use of first-line penicillin antibiotics.”


  1. Vyles D, Adams J, Chiu A, Simpson P, Nimmer M, Brousseau DC. Allergy testing in children with low-risk penicillin allergy symptoms. Pediatrics. 2017. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-0471