Children who receive antibiotics before their first birthday may be at an increased risk of developing asthma, new research has revealed.
In another twist on the should-you-shouldn't-you dilemma when it comes to your kids being prescribed antibiotics, signs of a link between early antibiotic use and asthma have been found.
The study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, suggested that it was antibiotic use in early life that led to the development of asthma, rather than use of antibiotics per se, as previously thought.
As part of the study, UK researchers examined data from the Manchester Asthma and Allergy Study (MAAS), which followed over 1,000 children from birth to 11 years old.
At age 11, blood was collected from the children to measure how their immune system reacted to viruses and bacteria, including those that cause the common cold and respiratory tract infections, as well as a common genetic marker linked to asthma susceptibility.
The results show that children who were treated with an antibiotic in the first year of life are more than twice as likely as untreated children to experience severe wheeze or asthma later on. They were also shown to produce a lower immune response to fight off viral infections, like colds.
Experts are now calling for more trials to clear up just how strong the link is. Professor Julian Crane and Dr Kristin Wickens from Otago University in New Zealand say, 'In view of the concerns over the rapidly waning efficacy of antibiotics, partly from overprescription, the fact that many are prescribed for disorders that they cannot benefit and the disquiet many parents express about overmedicating their children, the proposal for a randomised control trial is perhaps worthy of some consideration.'
Do you get in a dilemma over whether to give your little one antibiotics? Let us know below.