Antibiotics Increase The Risk Of Eczema In Babies, Warn Doctors
A large study involving more than 400,000 people has shown that infants given antibiotics before the age of two are significantly more likely to develop eczema and allergies as adults.
The study, compiled from the results of 22 separate pieces of research, is due to be unveiled today at the European Respiratory Society congress in London.
Scientists discovered that people who had been prescribed antibiotics as babies were up to 41 per cent more likely to suffer from eczema. The risk of developing hay fever in this group was up to 56 per cent.
Experts believe antibiotics kill the natural, protective gut bacteria in infants, leaving their immune system ill-equipped to fight off infection and germs.
According to lead researcher Dr Fariba Ahmadizar, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, babies who were treated with two courses of antibiotics instead of one had an even higher risk of developing allergies later in life.
Scientists examined data collected between 1966 and 2015. Their results show that early life use of antibiotics contributed to an increased risk of eczema of 15 to 41 percent. Hay fever risk increased by 14 to 56 percent.
Most common infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so the HSE advises only taking them when you or your child has an infection that is caused by bacteria, like some chest infections, kidney infection, some ear infections and meningitis.
To read the HSE advice on antibiotic use, click here. If you are worried about antibiotics use, speak to your doctor.