Wednesday, February 08, 2006


After a 3 month hiatus where i had been spending my time revising for my finals and then enjoying a blissful three months holiday back home in Kuching, I think its high time to give this blog a new breath of life again...

Well, since my 2nd year as a Bachelor of Pharmacy undergraduate is starting soon, i would think it is appropriate to start off with a post linking to my future profession. I would like to touch on a potentially fatal but still relatively low-profile medical issue: Penicillin allergy.

Recently it was brought to my attention that even though it was a standard procedure to ask a patient in Australia whether he/she is allergic to penicillin, a lot of people in M'sia is still in the dark concerning this matter. Penicillin and its derivative, including amoxicillin, is a commonly prescribed antibiotics to trear a myriad on bacteria caused maladies such as sore throat and common cold. A penicillin allergy occurs when one's body immune system overreacts to this group of antibiotics.

According to several reliable medical websites, common allergic reactions to penicillin include rashes, hives, itchy eyes, and swollen lips, tongue, or face. But on certain rare cases, an allergy to penicillin can cause an anaphylactic reaction, which can be deadly. This type of reaction usually develops within an hour after you take penicillin. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, hives, wheezing, dizziness, loss of consciousness, rapid or weak pulse, skin turning blue, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

It is estimated that around 500,000 Malaysians suffered various degrees of this allergy. Indications that one are allergic:
(1) if you have a positive skin test for penicillin allergy.
(2) hives that appeared quickly after you took the penicillin.
(3) a previous anaphylactic reaction to penicillin.

Plesae consult a medical doctor if any you encounter any indications stated above after taking a course of penicillin or have a skin test for penicillin allergy. Your life may be at stake here.


Hives (urticaria) are an allergic reaction of the skin that may last a few minutes or can persist for a few days. They appear as raised, red, itchy bumps (wheals) of different shapes and sizes, with defined red margins and pale centers.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that affects the entire body (systemic). It can occur within a few seconds or minutes after a person is exposed to a substance (allergen or antigen).
Symptoms and signs of a severe allergic reaction may include itching; raised, red bumps on the skin (hives or wheals); wheezing or difficulty breathing; swelling, either in one area or over the entire body. Swelling is most serious when it involves the lips, tongue, mouth, or throat and interferes with breathing; abdominal cramps; low blood pressure, shock, and unconsciousness.


Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Dr. Paul
Wrong Diagnosis


youngyew said...

Hi Phiaw, nice to see you back in action. :) Happy CNY!

brilliant_owl said...

wah..din notice that u have been updating your blog after such a long time ...n of all thoughts, u start of with such a post... haha..