Children who are exposed to antibiotics more often than their peers in childhood will be at greater risk of becoming overweight. It is believed that antibiotics can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the stomach.
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An analysis of almost 65,000 American children has shown that 69 per cent have been exposed to antibiotics prior to age 2. They are more likely to become obese or overweight the more they are exposed to these drugs.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, among other institutions, suspects that antibiotics are early exposures that disrupt the balance of beneficial microbes in children’s stomachs. This disruption of the personal “microbiome,” is believed to slow down a person’s metabolism and make them more likely to gain weight.
Dr. Martin Blaser is the nation’s leading expert on human microbiome. He argues in “Missing Microbes”, his best-selling book, that antibiotic use, particularly in children under 5, has contributed to the growth of metabolic and autoimmune disorders such as asthma, food allergies, eczema and type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Blaser stated that young children are subject to critical growth periods. His experiments have shown that obesity is caused by the loss of friendly bacteria in the early stages of development. “We must reduce antibiotic use in children. This is a key component of all our strategies. We need to start now.”
In the new study, the link between obesity and antibiotics was only true if children received broad-spectrum antibiotics. These antibiotics are meant to kill all bacteria, not just those that cause a specific illness. If they are unsure of the cause of an infection or want to quickly treat it, doctors may prefer broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Researchers wrote that narrow-spectrum antibiotics, which are recommended for first-line treatment of common childhood infections, were not associated with obesity after multiple exposures.
Researchers discovered that antibiotic use wasn’t the only risk factor in childhood obesity. Other risk factors include being a male, living in an urban location, having public-funded health insurance, being Hispanic, being diagnosed as suffering from asthma or wheezing and being prescribed steroid medication.
Antibiotics and Patient Demand Fuel Drug Resistance
Besides wiping out beneficial bacteria in the gut, the overuse of antibiotics in hospitals and doctors’ offices is also leading to a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
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Experts believe that as high as 50% of the antibiotic prescriptions in America each year are unnecessary. Each time a bacterium comes in contact with an antibiotic, it has another chance of figuring out how to defeat it.
Why you should never share your antibiotics
Experts are worried about people giving antibiotics to others after they have finished.
This is a common situation.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to you, advising you to continue taking the medication until you feel better.
If your symptoms persist, don’t listen to your doctor and stop taking your medication.
The rest of the medicine can be left in your medicine cabinet and you can use it the next time that you feel unwell.
Oder, even worse, when someone else becomes ill
We, the collective medical community, particularly those who monitor and treat bacteria stronger that the strongest antibiotics, want you to stop.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Conference & Exhibition in Orlando will present new research that shows how common parents share medicine.
Researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York found that 48% of parents who responded to an anonymous online survey said they have kept leftover antibiotics.
Researchers found that 73 percent of parents reported giving antibiotics to their children and siblings. The threat of resistance
Antibiotics work best when they are used sparingly
Overuse and misuse of them have led to antibiotic resistance. This is bacteria that has developed defenses against even the strongest antibiotics.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which calls antibiotic resistance “one the greatest public health challenges of our times,” estimates that at least 2,000,000 people are infected with an antibiotic-resistant disease each year — 23,000 of them die — in the United States.
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- However, parents who give their children antibiotics don’t cause the spread of deadly bacteria.
- It’s a mixture of their use in humans, animals, and natural evolution.
Experts are still trying to find new ways to counter these threats but they insist on the continued prudent use of antibiotics that are currently available.
- This includes using them only as directed.
Milanaik stated that although antibiotics have revolutionized medicine, clinicians must emphasize the need to properly use and dispose these medications in order to ensure they are effective against infectious diseases.
What is the most shared?
- Cohen’s survey revealed that liquids and drops were the most common ways to divert antibiotics.
- 16 percent of parents also reported that they gave their children antibiotics intended for adults.
- Even though the recipient may have changed, most parents adhered to the instructions on the packaging.
In a statement that was included with the research, Tamara Kahan, the abstract’s author, stated that parents often give their children unneeded antibiotics to save money.
Kahan believes that further research is needed to determine the best way to communicate to parents the dangers of antibiotic diversion, as well as how to pinpoint exactly when and why it might occur.
She said that follow-up surveys could be used to determine if there is a link between access to primary care or health insurance and antibiotic diversion.
Allan Coukell is the senior director of drugs & medical devices at Pew Charitable Trusts. He was not involved in the study, but he believes that people should not share antibiotics.
Healthline reported that he was concerned that antibiotics can give bacteria the opportunity to develop resistance.
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- Coukell states that antibiotics can cause resistance and are not considered safe.
- Side effects and complications can lead to many patients being admitted to the emergency department.
- He stated, “We must treat antibiotics with as seriousness as other prescription drugs.”