Asthma prevalence has doubled in the last 30 years.
We have addressed this issue in an earlier blog regarding the hygiene hypothesis. But also to note, antibiotic use in childhood diseases has increased, leading some to speculate that this may be a cause in the rise of asthma. A recent study examining antibiotic use in the first year of life and subsequent asthma diagnosis in the 3rd year of life was done. This was studied in a high risk urban population. 300 mother child pairs were studied. They found a signficant relationship of antibioic use in the first year of life and later asthma or wheezing by 3 years of age. The authors also looked into the reasons for antibiotic usage and they were primarily for respiratory symptoms. No association was seen for nonrespiratory illnesses.
These findings suggests that antibiotic usage in young children can lead to a subsequent development of asthma and wheezing later in life. This of course begs the question, were the antibioitics only prescribed after the child had an episode of wheezing and cough? Another study question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?
But it would be wise not to ask your doctor for antibiotics and give them to your child only if really necessary and not for common upper respiratory illnesses.