18 answers

Penicillin Allergy and Horrible Hives!

My son broke out in hives yesterday morning on day 10 of a 10 day round of augmentin. He had previously had penicillin with bad diarhhea but no other problems. We went to the MD who diagnosed the penicillin allergy. They said hives can last on and off for a while and to call back if they were in his mouth or his joints became red/swollen. Today he actually looks worse but seems pretty happy. Has anyone experienced this and how long did it last? It hurts to look at him right now! Except for his face, he is 90% covered in red splotches and his belly button is swelled up so much that it looks like a little crease. thanks!!!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all your responses. It's nice to hear from people who have gone through this and survived! It's been 4 days and he still looks horrible, maybe even a little worse. He has been on steroids since yesterday because his eyes were swelling shut. I'm hoping it will start clearing up now, can't get much worse! i'll keep you posted.

Featured Answers

I am allergic to penicillin and so is my son. When given to me it is much worse than just hives. However my son has hives from it and the second and third day were the worse. He looked worse but felt better. Just hang in there. Usually no more than 10 days.

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I would watch him very closely today. If his face starts swelling or has hives you need to call the doctor asap. My daughter had a horrible reaction to fire ants and they told us if there is facial swelling you have to worry about swelling of the throat which could cause one to stop breathing. Don't mean to scare you, just watch him close till the hives start going away. Hers lasted 3 to 4 days with most going away within 24 to 48 hours.

I'm surprised that the doctor didn't do the cortisone thing if your son's hives are that bad... You can give him Benadryl (which usually causes drowsiness -- but in small kids sometimes causes hyperactivity) but I wouldn't do anything without first consulting the doctor.

Make sure your pharmacy puts his allergy in their computer on his profile!

That is exactly what happened to my son. On day day of a day day dose he got hives. He was worse the 2nd day, and we had to take him to the ER. His hands, feet and knees were swollen. It will be 3 weeks on Monday and he is still breaking out. My ped told me it could last 4-6 weeks depending on the person. I have him on Zyrtec for the itching. The hives don't bother him- I am assuming because of theZyrtec. Has anyone heard of them lasting this long?

have him checked for mononucleosis (kissing disease). when my son was around 9 months he had really bad reactions to antibiotics. after trying 4 or 5 different ones, he was losing weight, geting spots all over his body and becoming lethargic. they ran a whole bunch of tests and found out that he had mono. the virus itself reacts badly to most antibiotics.

My 10 month old had the same thing about 3 weeks ago. The hives lasted for 5 days and like your son it got worse but he was always a happy baby. My Ped prescribed Benadryl for 3 days 3/4 of Tsp every 4 hrs, by the second day his knees, finger and hand were swollen and she increased the dosis to 1 tsp every 6 hrs for the last day. It really hurts to see your own kid red every where like that!!! Just hang in there, if he is not taking Benadryl, you may want to ask the Ped. But like I said, by day 5 his skin was clear , he just had some little bruises in his legs and the doctor said that was normal.

I am allergic to penicillin and so is my son. When given to me it is much worse than just hives. However my son has hives from it and the second and third day were the worse. He looked worse but felt better. Just hang in there. Usually no more than 10 days.

I had the same thing happen to me as a young child, although I was a little older than your son. The hives did go away, but they gave me a shot in the butt. I'm not sure what they did for your child. Since then, I'm fine, but I just can't take penicillin. Ampicillin is fine though. They will go away, and since I was old enough to remember the episode..it's painful, but not as bad as it looks. Take heart, it'll all be over soon. I hope that helps!

My son did this as well,though we took him to ER since it was a saturday morning and they gave him a shot that helped him be more comfortable rather quickly...They also told me to never use anything with penicillin again,because each time the reaction will get worse. Hope he gets well soon

Yep, sounds like my daughter's situation.

Mia has had amoxicilyn many times before, but this last time, when she had an ear infection, she finally had an adverse reaction, i.e., itching hives. There's really no explanation for why she was able to tolerated other times, and then only now, breaking out in hives.

So we switched to another antibiotic that worked just fine.

Your son will be fine. Itchy but fine.


You may want to also start buying your beef without antibiotics in it. Most of the better grocery stores will have an all-natural brand without hormones or antibiotics. I have a penicillin allergy and my face breaks out in a rash whenever I eat beef with antibiotics.
I hope your little guy feels better soon.

You are fortunate that all he got from this penicillin allergic reaction was hives. My mother and my brother were allergic to Penicillin and both experienced anaphylactic shock with any penicillin intake -- that is when the heart just stops! It is a very dangerous allergy to have and each reaction usually is worse than the last, so please be extremely careful not to give him anything unless the doctor tells you it will be okay -- not ANYTHING else including probiotics -- unless it has been cleared by a medical doctor (I wouldn't even trust a nurse -- they're nurses, not doctors and some are knowledgeable, some are not). If his hives are not improved in the least within 12 to 24 hours of the outbreak, take him to the doctor and let them have a look at it. Hives are not always just on the outside and sometimes it takes a medical professional to recognize if they have gone internal. I am concerned that you say this has been there now for 24 hours and seems worse, not better.

My 1st son had a horrible allergic reaction to augmentin when he was 10 mos old- the hives then turned into what looked like a map of bruises all over his body (eurthmia multiforme- sp?) when we took him to the pediatrician - they sent us immediately to the allergists office where he was then so uncomfortable- he was literally pulling his own hair out..they gave him epinephrin- and it stopped the discomfort for about 2 hours- I can't really remember what we did after that- but I know it took a while to totally clear up- like 2 weeks or something like that(he is almost 8 now). Be aware of any other reactions- red face or itching- when he is eating new foods as well- turns out my son had numerous food allergies as well.
Good luck to you! I know how hard it is to see them like this- I'll be thinking of you - contact me if you have any other questions..
Best to you

My son broke out in hives from pen. and it lasted for 8 weeks!!!! He also had ear infections too so it seemed liked forever. When it got so bad looking that he had it all over his body I made her give me an antihistamine. She tried Zyertec first and it didn't work so she prescribed something for him that he had to take every 4 hours! Finally they went away. He was happy and they didn't seem to bother him either. It bothered us more. Hope he gets better soon.

In college I broke out into hives after taking medicine that had sulphur in it. I found out this way that I was allergic to sulphur. The doctor changed my medicine AND put me on a steroid to counteract whatever the original medicine did to me. The hives went away fairly quickly.

Hi J.,
My oldest had the same reaction and it was towards the end of his round of pcn. I am deathly allergic (almost died when I was 2) and my husband is also allergic to pcn. I didn't want to give it to my son, but it is what is prescibed most often... After that, I refused to allow him to have any other meds in that same family. I had heard that the next time his reaction could be much worse. I have also heard that you can outgrow this allergy, but I am not convinced of that nor do I want to take that chance. I have two other kids and none of them have been given pcn. Some doctors understand my concern, others think I am over reacting, but it does concern me that they might swell up so badly they cannot breathe. There are plenty of other drugs out there that can be prescibed and hopefully your son won't be sick enough to need them very often...
Good luck!

I have an allergy to penicillin, also, and break out in hives when I get any at all. Mine last about 24 hours, however, I am an adult. FYI, I cant even take a med that is a "cousin" of penicillin. I hope your son feels better soon.

This happened to my daughter when she was 8 months old, she seemed pretty happy respectively. We gave her oatmeal baths and a low dose of benadryl to help with the itching. She was Spotted head to toe for a couple weeks. I thought she was going to be scarred up from all he scratches but ended up being just fine.

I would get him on some probiotics ASAP. I hope he can find relief soon.

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