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Managing skin rash caused by antibiotic allergy

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Antibiotic allergy can trigger symptoms if an individual uses a certain form of antibiotic. Antibiotics especially the penicillin and sulfa groups are usually the common cause of drug allergies. Generally, the allergies cause hives, swelling and skin rashes, but the most dangerous reaction is called anaphylaxis.

The allergies are caused by the immune system reaction to the antibiotic as a foreign substance, causing inflammation of the skin, restricting airways, becoming unconscious and even death. If experiencing anaphylaxis, it needs treatment immediately to save life.

Symptoms of antibiotic allergy

  • At first, rashes and blisters
  • Hives
    Antibiotic allergy

    Carry the prescribed epinephrine auto-injector.

  • Pain in the skin
  • Facial and tongue swelling
  • Sore throat with or without a cough
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • An abnormally hoarse voice
  • In addition, breathing difficulties or lightness in the throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast heart beat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lastly, feelings of death


  • Discontinue using the medication if experiencing allergic reactions.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet to make health workers aware about the allergy when the affected person cannot communicate.
  • Carry the prescribed epinephrine auto-injector
  • Take the prescribed oral antihistamines. Generally, antihistamines increase the white blood cells in the body while reducing the production of histamine which is released by the immune system in reaction to an allergen.
  • Apply calamine lotion on the rashes. It has zinc oxide that lessens the itchiness. Avoid applying near the nose, mouth, eyes, anal and genital areas.
  • Apply an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream on the affected areas at least 1-4 times every day for 7 days. It relieves the itchiness, irritation and rashes.
  • Take a tepid bath to soothe rashes on the skin. Avoid using hot and cold water to prevent worsening of the condition. Another alternative is adding baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or finely-ground colloidal oatmeal to the bath to lessen the itching of the area. In addition, avoid using soap to prevent irritation.
  • Apply a cool, wet compress to lessen the symptoms due to rashes and hives.
  • Avoid exposure to irritants to prevent making the condition worse such as hair coloring, cosmetics, latex, fur and leather products, soap and household cleaning products.

Additional measures

  • Avoid scratching or rubbing the rashes to prevent breaks or cuts and making the area susceptible to infection.
  • Avoid exposure to heat and humidity to prevent further irritation on the affected areas.
  • Wear comfortable clothing to lessen irritation on the rashes. Wear loose, smooth material such as cotton. Avoid clothes that cause constriction and those that are rough and scratchy such as wool.


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