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Antibiotics increase babies allergy risk

AAP logoAAP 7/09/2016 Sarah Wiedersehn

Babies exposed to antibiotics are at greater risk of developing allergies later in life, according to Dutch research.

Some previous research has suggested that early life exposure to antibiotics is associated with an increased risk of developing allergies later in life, but results have been inconsistent.

A new study, presented in London by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress this week, has found a strong association between antibiotic consumption during the first two years of life and the risk of eczema or hay fever later in life.

Researchers analysed results of 22 studies involving almost 400,000 patients to study the risk of eczema and hay fever.

The use of antibiotics in early life increased the risk of eczema by between 15 to 41 per cent, according to the findings.

Antibiotics also increased the risk of hay fever in later life by between 14 to 56 per cent.

The association was stronger if patients had been treated with two courses compared with one course of antibiotics, both for eczema and for hay fever.

It's thought the antibiotics disrupts the microorganisms in the gut which then results in a reduced immune response.

"Early life exposure to antibiotics is related to an increased risk of both eczema and hay fever later in life," said Dr Fariba Ahmadizar from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

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