file under “good to know”

So about that penicillin allergy .. yeah, I’m still totally allergic to penicillin.

Also, stupid. I’m very stupid. Can’t forget that.

Timeline: I was prescribed Amoxicillin for my strep throat. It worked wonders on me, and I was feeling better a few days into the medication. I finished up the meds I was given (albeit a little slower than recommended – I am not good at medicine) and continued about my merry way, until the strep came back a week or so later. This time, I was prescribed straight-up penicillin to flush it out of my system; a heavy dosage meant to kick germs to the curb as soon as possible.

During this time, I dealt with the other crap the end of 2014 had decided to dole out to me: a cough that wouldn’t go away, waking up every morning at 4am to bolt to the bathroom and noisily throw up nothing at all (or my favourite, nothing at all but bile and chunks of phlegm), chest rattling so loud it kept me awake every night until around 3am, at which point I’d get an hour of sleep before the barfing started, and a mysterious itch along both forearms that could not be soothed. I’ve managed to get all of these issues under control, save for the last one: I’m itchy all the goddamn time, and nothing helps.

I assumed it was just my annual winter skin freakout, so I went about treating my forearms in the usual ways: moisturizing to combat dry skin, antihistamines to control the itch, even more antihistamines to knock me out at night so I don’t scratch in my sleep, swearing, etc. Nothing helped. It wasn’t until last night at Friendmas during a conversation with my favourite Yunn that two and two were put together: the itching I’m experiencing is probably a reaction to the penicillin, to which I was allergic to once upon a time*.


Suddenly, everything made sense. Some quick Googling has shown that I am most likely experiencing a common side effect to the various forms of penicillin I’ve been ingesting, which is a horrible non-stop itch with no accompanying rash (thank dog) that starts several days after you stop taking the medication. Everything lines up perfectly, although I’m highly concerned about what comes next: this itching started after the Amoxicillin, but before the penicillin. I’ve already dug a hole in my arm from all the scratching, and both arms are covered in bruises and tiny scabs. In short, I’m a hot mess. A busty, itchy, hot mess.

I’m thrilled that the strep throat seems to be under control, but I would love for this itching to stop. I look like a junkie, with the clear discomfort and constant scratching and nervous twitching (which is only because I have not yet had any caffeine today).

*: A long, long time ago, it was written into my file that I’m allergic to penicillin. I assume this was from when I was a baby, and when my tail was removed. However, I’d never experienced the allergy – I just went by a decades-old note in a file somewhere. I asked about it once, and was told that “these things go away” so I was probably fine to take penicillin if I needed it. Strep throat seemed like a really good reason to need it, so I just went with the flow .. only to find out that no, I’m still pretty (mildly) allergic to it. I got lucky this time.


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