Babies Who Take Antibiotics Might Be More Likely to Develop Certain Health Issues

cute baby child little girl lying on her back and holding legs

Parents are constantly bombarded with decisions concerning our kids that can have long-lasting consequences. And one that seems to be a hot-button discussion is whether or not moms and dads should introduce their kids to medication sooner rather than later. Experts have now determined that babies are more likely to develop eczema or hay fever as adults if exposed to antibiotics during their first two years. We've already heard about kids becoming resistant to antibiotics, so maybe this is another reason for us to not be antibiotic-crazy?




Researchers recently presented their findings at the European Respiratory Society's annual meeting in London, and it has scientists worried that children who receive too many antibiotics will develop both a resistance and allergies down the road.

Specialists mulled over 22 studies, between 1966 and 2015, to try to figure out why there are such high rates of allergies in industrialized nations. They found that kids who received antibiotics more than once earlier in life have a 15 to 41 percent greater chance of developing eczema in adulthood. It's also worth noting that risk of developing hay fever also goes up by 14 to 56 percent.

Why? Experts theorize that a baby's exposure to medication under age 2 can disturb LO's immune system. In turn, that can affect the way a child's body reacts to antigens.

More from CafeMom: Your Baby's Birth Month Might Determine Her Risk of Developing Allergies

Needless to say, this information would make any parent concerned -- frantic, even. But don't think this means you have to swear off antibiotics altogether!

"Because no paper has been published allowing others to review the research, it's hard to know whether the research and conclusions are valid," Dr. Sheldon Berkowitz, a pediatrician at the Children's Primary Clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tells CafeMom about this study.

While many doctors, like Dr. Berkowitz, are looking for more clarity regarding these findings in particular, Dr. Berkowitz says there is a discussion in the medical world about medicine and what's suitable for our children.

"Pediatricians and other physicians are quite concerned about 'inappropriate' use of antibiotics when there is not a clear medical indication, " Dr. Berkowitz says. However -- and this is important! -- he says, "Antibiotics are a necessary tool in current medical care, but as with all treatments, should be used appropriately."

As a mother of a 1-year-old with chronic dry skin, I find this study quite interesting. My husband and I aren't "natural freaks," -- or whatever we're labeling folks about the #organiclife these days -- but we do limit our kids' exposure to medicines. And as annoying as it is to cough and sneeze every time one of my boys picks up a wonderful "gift" from their childcare, we do our best to grit our teeth and let nature take its course.

(Obviously if there were ever anything more life-threatening we would high-tail it to the emergency room -- or their pediatrician.)

More from CafeMom: 10 Bizarre Allergies You Didn't Know Existed

Never in a million years did I think antibiotics would have such effects on a child, even into adulthood.

If I can do things to help prevent my kids from developing any form of allergies down the road, I will certainly take the necessary precautions. As convenient (and life-saving) as antibiotics can be, unless my pediatrician says they're a must, I think my family and I will keep calm and carry on.



Image via Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock

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