Penicillin allergies are commonly reported, but only a tiny fraction of the population has a true allergy to the antibiotic. Penicillin is often the first line of treatment for infection. But often alternatives are selected instead, leading to an increased risk of readmission and hospital-associated infection.

So how can you sort out whether your symptom is a side effect or an allergic reaction? Here are five questions to ask yourself before asking for another antibiotic.

If you've had a reaction to penicillin, talk with your doctor to see if it is a true penicillin allergy.

Ryan Chapin,PharmD contributed to this story.