Children Who Use Antibiotics At Risk Later In Life

Last week, researchers warned that antibiotics may actually harm children who take them. Scientists at the University of Oxford and Public Health England found that preschoolers who take antibiotics for coughs and colds are more likely to get ill in the future.

Their study, published in the latest issue of the British Journal of General Practice, looked at 250,000 children aged one to five and found that those who had more than two courses of antibiotics were 30 per cent more likely to visit a doctor or spend time in hospital. Scientists believe the drugs may kill beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, says: “This research drives home how important is it for patients – and particularly parents – to understand antibiotics do not work for every infection and should not be prescribed for the most common childhood conditions… which are usually caused by viruses.”

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Grahame White