Yale Logo Antibiotics are provided to quite a few kids during infancy, but it may be harmful later on. A recent study commenced by the Yale School of Public Health suggests that children receiving antibiotics within the first six months of life face a dramatic risk of being diagnosed with asthma and allergies by the age of 6, even without a genetic predisposition. It was suggested that unnecessary employment of antibiotics has to be avoided particularly in low-risk children.

At the time of the study, 1400 women provided data on their pregnancies and children until the sixth birthday. Infants exposed to antibiotics in the first six months of life possibly were 52 percent more likely to develop childhood asthma and allergies than those who did not receive antibiotics. It was pointed out that the chances of developing childhood asthma also appeared among those without respiratory tract infections and kids whose asthma was first diagnosed after 3 years of age. Scientists observe that those without any asthmatic parents have a stronger threat of asthma after antibiotic use.

It is believed that early antibiotic exposure, especially to broad-spectrum antibiotics, curbs the developing immune system and generates a reduced anti-allergic response. Early microbial exposure in the intestinal tract is supposedly required for transition to a mature and balanced immune system during childhood. The study concludes that antibiotic use modifies microbial flora in the gut, therefore paves way for imbalance within the immune system and develops a poor allergic response. Michael B. Bracken, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, lead author and colleagues assert that simply avoiding antibiotics can help decrease risk of developing asthma and allergies.

The study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.