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Caution with antibiotics and antacids

Those with young children know that infections and reflux are common problems, treated with antibiotics and antacids respectively. Although often prescribed by a doctor, these medications can lead to the development of allergies later in life. Researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center in the USA analyzed data from 792,000 children born between 2001 and 2013 and verified that those treated with antibiotics or antacids in the first six months of life were more likely to develop allergies. Only a small proportion of the children overall (3%) developed food allergies, but the number was up to two times higher among those who had taken medication to regulate stomach acid. Children treated with antibiotics, meanwhile, were twice as likely to develop asthma and allergic rhinitis than those who were not (JAMA Pediatrics, April 2). The researchers believe these drugs may alter microbiota and should be given “only in situations of clear clinical benefit.”