HealthDay News — Taking antibiotics at a very young age could increase the risk of certain allergic conditions later in life, according to research presented at the annual European Respiratory Society International Congress, held from September 3 to 7 in London.

Fariba Ahmadizar, PharmD, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues reviewed the findings of studies published between 1996 and 2015 that included over 400,000 individuals.

The investigators found that treatment with antibiotics within the first two years of life was associated with a 15 to 41% increased risk of eczema and a 14 to 56% increased risk of hay fever later in life. Risk for both conditions was higher among those who received two courses of antibiotics than among those who received one course of antibiotics. The researchers hypothesized that antibiotics disrupt microorganisms in the gut, leading to reduced immune response.

“Early-life exposure to antibiotics is related to an increased risk of both eczema and hay fever later in life,” Ahmadizar said in a news release from the European Respiratory Society.

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