Antibiotic use in young kids has possible negative consequences

In a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers from (you guessed right), the Mayo Clinic analyzed data from over 14,500 children in their clinic’s data base.

And since this is an American study, a country in which doctors are – my editorial insert here – way more prone to dispense antibiotics (in fact, all meds, than doctors elsewhere, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that 70 % of kids in this cohort “had received at least one treatment with antibiotics for illness before age 2”.

Why does this matter?

Because as the writers go on to say, kids who got any antibiotics and especially those who got more antibiotics , were more likely to suffer with “conditions . . . (that) . . . included asthma, allergic rhinitis, weight issues and obesity, food allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, celiac disease, and atopic dermatitis.”

The standard disclaimer has to be applied here: In a study like this, one can never fully say that one side of the equation – more use of antibiotics – causes the other side of the equation – more health problems.

But surely, there are enough studies out there that come to the same conclusion: While antibiotics are very useful drugs which can save lives, they also clearly disrupt the normal healthy bacteria we all need to stave of some of these lifelong chronic health problems.

Always be the lawyer for the infant in your charge when you visit a health care professional with her/him: “Your Honour, does my client really, absolutely need to take this medicine you’ve just prescribed?”


“What will happen if we hold off for a while?”

“Thanks for your honesty, your Honour.”