This new study suggests that the risk of eczema increases by as much as 40 per cent if babies are given antibiotics in their first year of life.
Moreover, each additional course of antibiotics raises the risk of eczema by a further 7 per cent. The skin complaint occurs in one in every five children in the UK.
The disease is caused by an over-active immune system and results in dry and itchy skin.
It has been reported that researchers from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, the University of Nottingham and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary reviewed data from 20 studies involving almost 293,000 babies and children.
Senior researcher Dr Carsten Flohr, of King’s College and Guy’s, recommended that antibiotics should be prescribed ‘with caution’, especially to infants with a family history of eczema or allergic disease.
He went on to say: ‘The importance of this finding is to get a better understanding of the complex relationship between antibiotic use and allergic disease.
‘We need further research as determination of a true link between antibiotic use and eczema would have far-reaching clinical and public health implications.’