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Am I Having an Allergic Reaction to Amoxicillin or is this an Amoxicillin Rash?

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How can you tell the difference between an allergic reaction to amoxicillin and the "amoxicillin rash"?

This is a very common question. About 5-10 percent of children taking amoxicillin or Augmentin (which contains amoxicillin) will have a skin rash at some point while taking the medicine. Most of these rashes are because of viruses, not an allergic reaction (non-allergic).

A non-allergic rash typically has small spots, less than half an inch. They are in a symmetrical, widespread pattern that is sometimes raised. The rash usually appears five to seven days after starting amoxicillin. It typically appears on the chest, abdomen, back, and face. This type of rash usually goes away in three days but can last one to six days and it is not contagious.

Hives from an allergic immune reaction are very itchy, raised, and can change locations. These rashes usually last a week or longer. Hives would commonly be seen with a classic penicillin allergy reaction. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic in the penicillin family. Swelling can happen about half of the time. This can involve swelling of the skin, lips, and airway, which can cause concern. Also, these reactions can be very serious, and some cases can develop into anaphylaxis. This is a severe allergic reaction.

Learn more about drug allergies.

Allergy, Hives (Urticaria)
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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