Every year, on average, four out of five Americans are prescribed antibiotics. Scientists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands released a study finding a connection between developing allergies and antibiotic consumption during infancy.
“All we know is that early antibiotic use and allergies seem to go together,” said Dr. Carla Davis, director of the food allergy program at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. There are still many unknowns when it comes to early antibiotic use, but after analyzing more than 650,000 patients, researchers have at least found some connection to later development of allergies.
According to CBS News, in London, at the European Respiratory Society International Congress, scientists presented their findings of how early use of antibiotics shows an increased risk of eczema, an allergic skin condition accompanied by a fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.
“It’s important to give vaccines and immunizations when we can,” said Dr. Jonathan Spergel, Chief of the Allergy Section at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Similarly, when you have a significant bacterial infection, you have to treat it.”
Romper reports that Spergel credits many factors to the cause of allergy development, including antibiotic use, but it’s not as cut and dry and some other medical issues.
Spergel also stresses that you shouldn’t give antibiotics to children for just any reason. If it’s just the common cold, giving a small child — under the age of two — too many antibiotics can cause more diseases and medical issues later in life.
Dr. Larissa Grigoryan, a Family and Community Medicine instructor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, announced too many people self-diagnose themselves and their children and self-prescribe these antibiotics that are usually unnecessary.
“The most common conditions patients reported self-treating with antibiotics were sore throat, runny nose or cough — conditions that typically would get better without any antibiotic treatment,” said Grigoryan.
“Treat infections when they’re real infections and not when they’re not,” Spergel added.