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Responding to Tonsillectomy and Penicillin Allergy
from Mike B.

Hi:  I was a little late getting around to it this month, but finally caught up with the October updates.  And as is often the case, a couple of items in the mail caught my eye.

1.  Keren raised the question of tonsillitis in connection with P.  At the ripe old age of not-quite-57, I'm in the rather unusual situation of still possessing both my tonsils and appendix.  There was some risk of losing the former when I was a kid, but this was back in the days when tonsillectomies in the fall were an absolute no-no (polio risk, I think), and that's invariably when mine would get infected.

Since even the appendix is now recognized to have some vague function in the immune system (probably that's why a white-cell count is THE test for a bad appendix), my former derm said it was a quite reasonable guess that my P is so stubborn partly because I have a very strong immune system.  And this is pretty well borne out in practice — if there's any kind of "bug" going around, I'm usually the last to get it if at all, the first to get rid of it, and I generally get the mildest symptoms.

2. James D. asked about penicillin as a possible trigger.  I had a fairly severe skin reaction to penicillin several years ago, which was how I first learned I'd acquired an allergy to it, never a problem when I was younger.  That in turn triggered a nasty flare-up of the P — fortunately, it responded well to a double-barreled treatment of the P and the allergy.

And that's an area I'll have to watch — so far, every allergy I've ever run into has been a skin reaction, rather than respiratory or other system, for which I guess I should be grateful since skin reactions are a royal pain but not so dangerous.

Bottom line, anyway, is that it was the allergic reaction, not the penicillin itself, that the P wasn't happy about in my case.

Best to all, -Mike B.


Ed’s Response:  Thanks, Mike.  As always, your comments and observations are illuminating.

I was particularly intrigued with your interpretation of what happened with the Penicillin allergy and the P.  As you probably know, there has been a long-standing issue at FlakeHQ about the relationship between P and allergies in general.  Some of us assert that allergies are, in themselves a P trigger.  Others assert that P is, in fact, an allergy.  And the currently prevailing medical opinion (which, here, is typically second-hand or further removed) is that there isn’t a relationship, that P and allergies are distinctly different things.  If I understand your assertion, based on your own allergic reaction to Penicillin, it sounds related to the Koebner phenomenon.  The allergy caused the skin trauma which, in turn, exacerbated the P.  Interesting.  –Ed

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