Antibiotic Exposure as a Baby Nearly Triples Asthma Risks

The number of Canadian children who eventually develop asthma has doubled over the past two decades. Unfortunately, the culprit — antibiotics — is all too familiar to many of you.

Based on one analysis of seven studies encompassing more than 12,000 children, patients prescribed antibiotics at least once prior to their first birthday, not at all an unusual occurrance, almost tripled their chances of asthma. Even worse, another analysis of more than 27,000 kids found every additional exposure to antibiotics increased a baby’s risk of asthma by a frightening 16 percent.

Interestingly, researchers believe exposure to antibiotics is only a part of the problem, citing the hygiene hypothesis — the argument that children not exposed to viruses and bacteria factors won’t build the natural immunities that protect them from disease later on — as a likely contributor.

Fact is, the fear that your baby will get sick at all may make them sicker in the long run. Children aren’t meant to be isolated from life in a sealed room. They’re designed to run, play and, on occasion, get dirty.

Toronto Star March 13, 2006 March 14, 2006