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Penicillin: Hypersensitivity Reactions

Despite the fact that penicillin is traditionally prescribed for the effective treatment of various bacterial infections, it may cause an additional highly negative consequence. Penicillin allergy may be defined as an abnormal reaction of the individual’s immune system to the medication on the basis of this antibiotic drug. In the case of EO, the health care provider concerns about the possibility of penicillin allergy that is more feasible due to the existence of another allergy to bee stings. In addition, the impact of penicillin allergy on the child’s health may be more negative as her medical history already includes asthma.

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In general, hypersensitivity reactions may be considerably dangerous for human health as they imply the exaggerated responses of the immune system to allergens. Allergy relates to type I hypersensitivity that involves the activity of IgE antibodies (Banasik, 2018). IgE sensitizes a person to an allergen and trigger the organism’s quick inflammatory response. In addition, mast cells, bound with IgE, “contain histamine, platelet-activating factor, and other vasoactive amines that are important mediators of immediate hypersensitivity responses” (Banasik, 2018, p. 164). The negative effects of penicillin allergy include anaphylaxis and bronchoconstriction, that is why patients with asthma, especially children, should receive the course of penicillin carefully. In addition, the existence of another allergy may determine the initial adverse reaction to the antibiotic as mast cells “act to trigger evolving immune responses, promote continuing sensitivity, and promote the transition of allergic disease into chronic illness” (Banasik, 2018, p. 199). In general, hypersensitivity reactions to an antigen typically do not occur on first exposure to it (Banasik, 2018). That is why EO’s parents are advised to monitor the girl’s health condition in order to detect potential inflammatory reactions that include urticaria formation, vasodilation, pruritus, and bronchoconstriction.


Banasik, J. L. (2018). Pathophysiology (6th ed.). Saunders.

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