By Mary-Ann Shearer
A connection between Asthma and Antibiotics
Asthma is a disease of the lungs and of the air tubes leading to them. It causes the walls of the bronchioles, the tiny airways in the lungs, to swell and produce mucus so that it becomes difficult to breathe.
- Children given antibiotics during the first six months of life are up to 11 times more likely to develop allergies and asthma, warn experts.
- Early exposure to the drugs dramatically increases the risk of triggering common allergies including pets, dust mites and hay fever, a study found.
- Experts discovered the threat rose with each course of antibiotics given to an infant and for those whose mothers had allergies.
Connection – having antibiotics as a baby can trigger asthma
Broad spectrum antibiotics
The highest risk was for babies given a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which includes penicillin, while breastfeeding for more than four months also heightened the chances of allergic reaction. Because antibiotics wipe out both good and bad bugs in the gut, it is thought they may disturb the body’s immune programming in the crucial early months of life.
The findings by a team at the Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit, are unveiled as scientists and child health experts become increasingly concerned over the rising level of medical problems linked to allergic reactions over the last 25 years. More than a million British children have been diagnosed with asthma, while many thousands more have wheezing problems, allergies and skin rashes caused by eczema. Senior researcher Dr Christine Cole Johnson said the latest findings were a ‘new warning’ over the need to restrict the use of antibiotics. Doctors were now aware of the hazards of antibiotic resistance in fueling the growth of superbugs, and were cutting down on their use.
‘I’m not suggesting children shouldn’t receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them at such an early age. In the past many of the drugs were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections such as colds or flu when they would have had no effect anyway.” said Dr Johnson.
11 Fold risk between Asthma and Antibiotics
Researchers studied 448 children from birth to the age of seven – 50 per cent of whom had received antibiotics in the first six months of life. Half had been given more than one course. The team took into account the type of antibiotic prescribed, whether the children had pets, the period of breastfeeding and the mother’s history of allergies. They found that by the age of seven, youngsters who had been given at least one antibiotic in the first six months of life were 1.5 times more likely to develop allergies than those who did not have drugs and 2.5 times more likely to develop asthma.
The risk was even higher for children who lived with fewer than two pets – thought to protect youngsters against developing allergies. Children on antibiotics whose mothers suffered from allergies had double the risk of developing them, and those breast-fed for more than four months were three times more at risk.
The risk was a massive 11-fold for children who received broad-spectrum antibiotics, were breast-fed for four months and did not have any pets, Dr Johnson told the European Respiratory Society’s annual conference in Vienna.
She said ‘The results of our prospective birth study suggest that antibiotic use is a risk factor for allergy in children, particularly those who already have other risk factors.
‘What’s more, the increased risk is proportionate to the number of courses of antibiotics given.
‘Three courses in the first six months mean that the risk is multiplied by five for a child who did not have much contact with animals and was breast-fed for a long time.’
Antibiotics had an extra damaging effect in children who had inherited a predisposition to allergies or had not benefited from protective factors. Dr Johnson, a senior epidemiologist, said the most likely reason was changes in bacteria in the gut.
A spokesman for the National Asthma Campaign said: ‘Studies looking at the relationship between the development of asthma and allergies in children who have received antibiotics at an early age, as well as the effects of when women have taken antibiotics while pregnant, have been inconclusive.
‘Whilst this is an interesting study, further research is needed to understand the complexities of the relationship between these factors.’
Asthma and Diet
Modern eating habits maybe one of the main causes of the huge rise in asthma that has left one in five children with the disease. The wrong diet, including those with low amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, can lead to an eightfold increase in the risk of asthma, say researchers. Britain has some of the highest rates of asthma in Europe, and latest research shows that teenagers here have the highest rates of severe wheezing in the world. But although asthma has reached epidemic proportions, doctors are still not sure what causes it or why it is increasing at such an alarming rate.
For years, pollution took much of the blame, and a huge number of suspects ranging from car exhausts, the weather and cigarettes, to dust mites, antibiotics, and homes that are too clean, have been investigated. But our children’s eating habits are now fast emerging as a prime suspect. Increasing evidence suggests that a poor diet, especially one low in antioxidant and vitamin content, could be implicated.
‘I think diet is the factor that has made the biggest contribution to increased asthma in wealthier countries. I can’t see anything else that has changed that could have had this effect,’ says Professor Anthony Seaton, of the University of Aberdeen, who has been carrying out diet and asthma research work with 2,000 pregnant women and their babies.
Each year in Britain there are 1,500 deaths from asthma and 74,000 hospital casualty attendances. Over the past three years the number of asthma sufferers has increased from 3.7 million to 5.1 million.
It is thought some people have a genetic susceptibility but that environmental triggers are also needed to turn the inherited risk into real disease. The European Community Respiratory Health Survey of 22 countries shows that the highest rates are in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., while the lowest are in the Mediterranean countries, Eastern Europe, and India.
‘The fact that we can show geographical variations suggests differences are due to environmental factors, not only pollution, but also the food people eat and the way they live,’ says Dr Christer Janson who led the study.
How a chinese silkworm has the power to ease my asthma
by MARTYN HALLE, Daily Mail 16:04pm 12th November 2002
When keen athlete Stephen Kershaw was laid low by a bad bout of asthma he sought help from a treatment using the Chinese silkworm.
Scientists have recently discovered that the tiny creature produces a unique enzyme which has an anti-inflammatory action.
Despite taking antibiotics and oral steroids, the 18-year-old A-level student was unable to shake off a bug that had exacerbated his asthma and had been forced to abandon his regular visits to the gym.
And in case you all think I have totally lost my mind; I do not think a silk worm can help you! This type of article is just so typical as people are desperate for a cure and looking to take something instead of changing their lifestyles and diet. My personal observation is that parents that give children antibiotics are unaware of the role diet plays in asthma and that when the diet is changed and the parents are made aware of the side effects on the immune system of antibiotics, that the child gets well and stays well until the offending foods are re introduced.
The main dietary causes which would encourage the use of antibiotics are
- Preservatives (especially Sulphur dioxide and sodium benzoate)
- Dairy products (including yoghurt and cheese)
- Gluten intolerance
- Lack of essential fatty acids in particularly Omega 3 found in dark green leafy vegetables (taking BarleyLife is very convenient here) and flax oil (like Millbrook and AimMega)
- Lack of fresh fruit and vegetables
Following The Natural Way 5 steps would cover the fruit and veg base and taking BarleyLife and AimMega daily with maybe fresh carrot juice or Just Carrots (dried carrot juice) excluding preservatives and dairy and gluten would go a long way to getting rid of asthma or breathing problems.
For more info on this read Perfect Health: The Natural Way: and “Healthy Kids”
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