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Antibiotic use in babies raises the risk of childhood asthma

Babies prescribed antibiotics in their first six months of life are more likely to develop asthma and other allergies in childhood, a US study suggests.

The study followed 448 children from birth to age

seven to determine whether their long-term health was affected by early antibiotic treatment. Some 49 received at least one course of antibiotics in the first six months.

These patients were 50 per cent more likely to develop allergies and 2.5 times more likely to develop asthma than children who had not been exposed to antibiotics as infants, according to results presented last week at the European Respiratory Society conference in Vienna.

Study leader Dr Christine Johnson, a consultant paediatrician at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said: 'I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics, but I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age.'

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