Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mono Rash or Amoxicillin Rash?

My 9 year old daughter had been complaining of a sore throat for a while. She didn't really have a fever. One day it would be 99.5, the next normal, the next 100, the next normal, and so on. She said it was sore, but didn't complain about eating or seem to be in a lot of pain. No other symptoms except maybe being a little drained. Instead of running around with her sisters, she was watching TV on the couch.

After a couple of weeks I brought her to the doctor. The doctor didn't find anything wrong during the exam. Her throat was a little swollen, but not red, and there were no white spots. They did a rapid strep test which was negative, but said they'd send it off to the lab anyway.

During the next week, my daughter still complained that her throat was bothering her. No other symptoms appeared though. Fever was still off and on. 9 days later the doctor's office called and asked how she was doing. When I said she still complained of a sore throat they told me that her strep test came back positive. I asked to speak to the doctor who called back later. We were very upset that this took so long to come back. She said it actually came back 3 days later but by the time she read it and got it to her staff it was the weekend and they were supposed to call Monday, but didn't until Wednesday. I was furious. I know strep can lead to other things.

I'm not one to push antibiotics on my kids. I don't rush to the doctor and demand antibiotics. However, if they do have a bacterial infection, I want them treated.

She called in Amoxicillin. It took 2-3 days for my daughter's throat to stop hurting. I felt horrible since it had now been a month she had been dealing with a sore throat.

Just when I thought the worst was over...One week after she started the Amoxicillin, she broke out in a rash. It started on her back, tummy, and neck and then within an hour or so, it was everywhere...her legs, arms, face, ears!! She didn't get anything in her eyes or mouth. She had no problems breathing. This of course was on a holiday, so there were no doctors available. Since she had no problems breathing, I wasn't overly concerned or I would have brought her to an urgent care.

That evening brought itching. I gave her Benadryl and Aveeno baths. She was worse the next day. Of course, still being a holiday time, the doctor was closed. I brought her into the pharmacy. The pharmacist paged my doctor (they are actually friends) and the doctor called back and prescribed steroids and Zyrtec.

This helped. But it took 2 more days for the rash and itching to go away. I checked her medical records and found that she has had Amoxicillin many times in the past with no problems. I began to suspect the Mono-Amoxil rash.

I took my daughter into the doctor on Monday. I didn't want her labeled as allergic to Amoxicillin. I wanted to know for sure. Her strep test was negative in the office but they sent it to the lab along with blood work for Mono. The doctor called two days later and said the strep was still negative, but the EBV was elevated indicating my daughter had Mono.

Weird thing was she didn't have the other symptoms of Mono. I guess she was a little more tired than usual, but nothing like what I remember seeing teens go through in high school. I remember my friends would "vanish" for a month. They were tired and sick and kept home for weeks. Maybe it was because my daughter is younger?

The rash was caused by using Amoxicillin while having Mono, it was NOT an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin.

So if you suspect your child might have Mono and he or she takes Amoxicillin and then breaks out in a rash, check it out with your doctor. Don't assume it's an allergic reaction.


  1. this same thing just happened to me!! My doctor decided "oh, since your strep test was negative, we'll give you antibiotics anyways." Andy now I have a red blotchy, bumpy rash all over my body!! It is the worst experience EVER. I know how it feels! I'm hoping it goes away soon because this itching is maddening!

  2. Use Aveeno baths along with Benadryl or Zyrtec. That helped my daughter some.

  3. So glad I say this, my daughter also has Crohns, so it makes it difficult to figure out and treat her sometimes. It took her a week for her to break out on antibiotic's, so we thought she didn't have mono, but now 7 days later she broke out!! So frustrating!! thanks for this write up, it helped me feel better.

  4. Thank you for writing this. Trying to figure out my 4 year olds rash and this all is making sense.