There will be instances in your infant’s life when they will need to take antibiotics for their health. But according to new studies, infants ages two and below taking antibiotics may not be the best thing, because early exposure may increase the risk of eczema and allergies.
“Studies on almost 400,000 people found that giving the drugs to infants increased their chance of developing the painful skin allergy by up to 41 per cent, and their risk of hay fever by up to 56 per cent,” as per a Mail Online report.
Researchers believe that when taken by infants, antibiotics kill off the natural bacteria found in the gut.
As a result, their bodies’ immune system never gets used to dealing with germs.
So when they are exposed to relatively harmless substances (such as pollen and certain allergens) their immune system overreacts, which then results in an allergic reaction.
Compiling the results of 22 studies, the researchers found that the increased risk of eczema ranged from 15 to 41%, while for hay fever it rose to 14 to 56%.
Not only that, Dr. Fariba Ahmadizar, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, says that the risk of both allergies went up if the infants had been treated with two courses of antibiotics.
Despite the findings in the study, doctors still advise that infants be given antibiotics should the need for it arise.
But perhaps the most alarming thing that doctors are concerned about when it comes to infants and antibiotics is the creation of untreatable superbugs.
“Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs adapt and find ways to survive the effects of medicines,” the Mail Online report said. “The more that the bugs are exposed to the drugs, the quicker they evolve.”
In fact, in a 2015 study by Bristol University discovered that 48% young children in the UK suffering from a common bladder condition carried Ampicillin-resistant germs. Ampicillin is a go-to drug used for a variety of illnesses.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies have already encouraged parents to stop asking GPs for antibiotics for their children.
“Using antibiotics when we don’t need them, or not always taking the full course properly, gives bacteria in our bodies that opportunity to become resistant to antibiotics,” she said.
READ: Early antibiotic exposure blunts breastfeeding benefits in babies
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