Are Antibiotics Safe for Children?: 4 Risks of Antibiotic Overuse


| 12/31/2015 11:37:00 AM


Risks of Antibiotic Overuse

In my own experiences, I’ve found that antibiotics are prescribed left and right for various conditions. But are they always necessary? And are they always safe to use, especially for kids? Learn about some of the health risks associated with frequent antibiotic use in children below.

Antibiotics Kill Both Good and Bad Bacteria

Antibiotics work to rid the body of infections because they kill bacteria. But they don’t just kill the particular type of bacteria causing your symptoms; they aren’t specific, and so they kill the other bacteria in your body at the same time.

And guess what? Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, a lot of the bacteria living and growing in our bodies are essential to good health.

The community of bacteria living in our bodies is termed the microbiome. A healthy, well-balanced microbiome is necessary for many functions in the body, including those related to immunity, digestion, metabolism, and more. An unbalanced, unhealthy microbiome can translate into an unhealthy body; disrupted microbiomes are associated with things like asthma, obesity, and irritable bowel symptoms.[1,2]



So when you take antibiotics, your microbiome can be significantly altered, taking away some of the beneficial bacteria your body needs to function properly. It can take several months for the bacterial population to return to normal after changes made by antibiotics.[3] And in some cases, it seems that lasting harm can be caused by antibiotic use, especially during childhood.



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