Penicillin Allergy

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
Penicillin Allergy
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Experienced in treating antibiotic allergies.
  • Provide individualized allergy treatment plans for patients
  • Offer desensitization treatment if penicillin is needed to treat an infection.

Penicillin is one of the most common antibiotics available to treat bacterial infections, but it can be deadly for those who have an allergy to it. 

Penicillin is the umbrella name a group of antibiotics used to treat conditions like ear and respiratory infections, as well as many other conditions. They're among the oldest antibiotics and are often prescribed because of their low toxicity and high effectiveness in targeting a narrower range of bacteria than other antibiotics.

Penicillin allergy is the most commonly reported medication allergy in the United States with about 10 percent of the population reporting to have a history of allergy. About 25 percent of patients who come to Yale Medicine with a medication allergy have a penicillin allergy, says  Dr. Tao Zheng, MD, associate professor of Allergy & Immunology (Pediatrics and Internal Medicine) and chief of Allergy & Clinical Immunology at Yale Medicine.