The study found between a 41 and 56 percent increased risk of developing allergies in later life if treated with antibiotics at a young age.
New extensive research has found a link between early antibiotic use in children and the increased risk of allergies such as eczema and hayfever.
Conducted by Dr Fariba Ahmadizar from Utrecht University, Netherlands and colleagues, the research used data from 32 observational studies published between 1966 and 2015 involving almost 400,000 participants looking at the consumption of antibiotics before the age of two and risk of developing eczema or hayfever later in life.
Ahmadizar and her team found a definite increase in risk after early antibiotic use with 15 percent to 41 percent for eczema and 14 percent to 56 percent for hayfever. The varying amounts are due to the different types of studies that were analyzed. This is not a completely new link – previous research has suggested the link between early antibiotic use and allergies but with inconsistent results. However, this study has revealed even two courses of antibiotics at a young age can have a devastating effect on the developing immune system causing it to be highly susceptible.
The reason for increased risk is thought to be the effect antibiotics have on the disruption of the microorganisms present in the gut. These microbiomes are crucial for a healthy immune system so any imbalance will lead to reduce immune responses. The younger we are when we receive antibiotic medication, the more affect this can have on the immune system.
Despite antibiotic suppression on the immune system, health experts and paediatricians need to balance out the pros and cons of using antibiotics since they are an essential means in fighting bacterial infections, and to date, something that has saved the lives of millions of people.
The conclusions to their findings were presented at the European Respiratory Society congress in London on Tuesday.