Antibiotics: Not for Baby
By Editorial Staff
Unless absolutely necessary; but far too often, antibiotics are the first treatment option for infants in their first year of life – even for conditions that aren't bacterial in nature (and thus can't be helped by antibiotics). The consequence: an increased risk of permanent allergies and asthma, suggests a powerful new study that add to the growing body of research on the connection.
Researchers found that early exposure to antibiotics not only led to subsequent allergen and airway responses; but also that the cause may be a disrupted microbiome. (Antibiotics "kill" bacteria indiscriminately: both the bad bacteria if a bacterial infection is present, as well as the billions of "good" bacteria that make up our gut microbiome.)
While this study involved infant mice as subjects, plenty of human research supports the same association: Early-life antibiotic use contributes to asthma and allergy risk. In fact, we've reported on some of this research in previous issues of To Your Health, along with research on why antibiotic use, particularly in children, should be a last resort, not the all-too-common first option:
All the above should lead every parent to ask questions whenever they're prescribed an antibiotic, whether for themselves or their child. Is it the best option? Will it work? What are the potential risks? What nondrug options are available? It's well-worth the effort.
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