Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed drugs for kids — in 2010, they accounted for a quarter of all medications for children. But studies are indicating they may be over-prescribed, and this has the biggest effect on infants.
A new study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe synthesized hundreds of past studies, concluding that antibiotics may alter infant gut bacteria. Why does this matter?
“Normal development of the immune system is dependent on key members of the gut microbiome for the development of regulatory components of the immune system,” the study reads. In other words, early introduction of antibiotics can mess with the development of baby’s immune system, causing illness in adulthood. The study explains that this can lead to allergies, asthma, obesity and even autoimmune diseases.
So when does it become safe to administer antibiotics? And what dosage is safe? More research is needed, but the study found infants are most vulnerable to immunological defects between birth and six months.
Need to give baby medicine? Here’s how to help him get it down.