Eczema May Be Linked to Antibiotic Use in Babies
The research also revealed that each additional course of antibiotics may increase the risk of eczema by a further 7%.
The researchers, from Guyâ€™s and St Thomasâ€™ NHS Foundation Trust, Kingâ€™s College London, the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the University of Nottingham in the UK, analyzed data from 20 separate studies involving children and young adults aged up to 25.
The studies looked at exposure to antibiotics before birth and up to one year after, and the subsequent development of eczema.
It was found that infants are more likely to develop eczema if they had antibiotics within their first year of life, but not prenatally.
â€œA better understanding of the complex relationship between antibiotic use and allergic disease is a priority for clinicians and health policymakers alikeâ€¦
â€œDetermination of a true link between antibiotic use and eczema would have far- reaching clinical and public health implications.â€
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, described as a persistent inflammation of the epidermis.
Atopic eczema is the most common form of the disease and mainly affects children, but can follow on later in life or even develop in adulthood. Around 80% of atopic eczema cases develop by 5 years of age, many occurring by the age of one.
Some experts believe eczema is a genetically inherited condition. In 2006, experts on genetic skin disorders led by the University of Dundee discovered the gene responsible for atopic eczema.
According to Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists, eczema is the UKâ€™s most common skin disease, affecting 1 in 5 children. She adds that eczema and other allergic diseases have increased over the years, especially for children in high-income countries, but she says the reasons for this are not fully understood.
â€œThe evidence is not conclusive and the researchers are not suggesting that parents should withhold antibiotics from children when doctors feel such treatment is necessary, but studies like this give an insight into possible avoidable causes and may help to guide medical practice.â€
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