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A drug allergy means there is a reaction to certain medicines like antibiotics, vaccines, or even herbal supplements. It happens when the body’s immune system mistakes a drug for a harmful substance and attacks it. This releases certain chemicals, which can affect the body in different ways.

A child with a drug allergy can have skin reactions like hives (red, raised, itchy patches on the skin), rashes or itching. They may have fever, vomiting, swelling or shortness of breath. A serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can happen. This affects many body systems and can be life-threatening.

Nemours pediatric allergy and immunology specialists know how drug allergies affect children. We understand the different symptoms and work to get your child feeling better, fast.  

Learn more about Drug Allergies at the Nemours KidsHealth Library

Related Specialties

Pediatric Drug Allergy Care You Can Trust

We see lots of kids with drug allergies and know what to look for. Reactions can happen right after taking a medicine, or over a longer period. Sometimes problems can happen even after a child stops taking a drug. These can include issues with blood cells, kidney inflammation and joint pain. 

We have vast experience in pediatric allergies. Drug allergies can look like other allergies or conditions. We listen to you and your child, ask the right questions and do testing to understand your child’s symptoms. 

We provide a variety of allergy tests. We may recommend an oral challenge. In this test we watch your child after taking the drug by mouth. We may also use skin testing, blood testing and more. 

We create a customized care plan. We personalize treatment to your child. We’ll help you understand the drug allergy, how to avoid triggers, and create an emergency plan. 

We offer drug allergy desensitization. In some cases, if your child needs a certain drug and there are no suitable alternatives, we may recommend desensitization. We safely introduce a medicine in small amounts over time, under medical supervision.

Related Conditions We Treat

  • Allergic reactions to things other than drugs
  • Asthma
  • Hives
  • Immune problems