Babies who are given antibiotics and antacids are more likely to develop allergies, including asthma, as they grow into childhood, according to a new study.
The cases of allergies and asthma have continued to rise over the past few decades, with the number of people with asthma in the United States increasing by over 60 percent since the early 1980s. The findings of the new study may finally explain why.
Antibiotics And Antacids For Infants Linked To Childhood Allergies
According to a new study that was published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, the use of antibiotics and antacids during infancy is linked to the subsequent development of allergies, including asthma, in childhood.
The researchers looked through the health records of nearly 800,000 children born between 2001 and 2013 who were covered by Tricare, which is an insurance program for both active and retired military personnel and their families.
The study found that, after four years, more than half of the subjects developed allergies to food or medicine, asthma, rashes, hay fever, and other allergic diseases. The cause could not be proven, but the relationship with antibiotics and antacids stood out.
Babies who were given antacids in their first six months since birth saw their risk of developing a food allergy double, while the risk of developing a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis or hay fever increased by 50 percent. Meanwhile, babies who were given antibiotics in their first six months saw their risk of developing asthma double, while also seeing a 50 percent increase in the risk of developing anaphylaxis and hay fever.
The results of the research provide further evidence on the importance and delicate balance of the gut microbiome, which is upset by both antibiotics and antacids. By giving babies such medication, the gut is thrown off balance, resulting in an overreaction in their immune systems that may appear as an allergy.
The Usefulness Of Antibiotics
Antibiotic-resistant superbugs have existed even before the dinosaur age, but that does not diminish the usefulness of the medication. Earlier this year, a powerful antibiotic found in dirt was discovered to be capable of killing the drug-resistant superbugs. Meanwhile, in March, a breakthrough research resulted in a new class of synthesized natural antibiotic that is not only capable of killing the superbugs, but also lessens the severity of infection.
However, according to the findings of the study, and as recommended by the researchers behind it, antibiotics and antacids should be prescribed for babies only when really necessary.