Antibiotic Exposure and Risk of Food Allergies in Children and Babies Who Also Have Eczema.

Antibiotic Exposure and Risk of Food Allergies in Children and Babies Who Also Have Eczema.

Anne Fairchild McVey

Antibiotic Exposure and Risk of Food Allergies in Children Who Also Have Eczema.

Childhood food allergies are on the rise worldwide and when it’s a life threating food allergy it can be beyond stressful for the parents. To date there have only been theories on the growing epidemic, but now, new research is linking this growing problem to antibiotic use in infants.

Bryan L. Love, PharmD, BCPS, and colleagues studied South Carolina Medicaid records to identify children with a food allergy diagnosis from 2007 and 2009. While analyzing this data, they discovered a link between antibiotic exposure and an increase of food allergy diagnosis. The antibiotics were prescribed during the first year of life. This research was funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration and was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) on February 22-26 in San Antonio Texas.

The research showed that exposure to 2 or more rounds of antibiotics during the first year of life is linked with a higher rate of food allergy diagnosis. Bryan Love, PharmD, South Carolina College of Pharmacy was quoted as saying “We believe it may be related to a disruption of normal gut flora. Systemic antibiotics not only kill bacteria causing an infection but they are also distributed to other parts of the body where they can kill susceptible bacteria that are part of our normal flora – especially in the gastrointestinal tract.”

Dr. Love and colleagues discovered an almost 2-fold increase in food allergies in children that had been exposed to 3 or more rounds of antibiotics between the ages of 7 and 17 months.

Unfortunately most of the antibiotic exposure they saw was due to treating infected eczema.

How can you manage eczema that is out of control without using antibiotics? 

Knowing how to manage eczema when it first presents itself it extremely important. Properly managing eczema will keep it under control and will decrease the risk of infection. The Soak and Seal process helps to repair the skin barrier. Soak the baby or child for at least 10 minutes in lukewarm water (never leave a child or baby unattended in a bathtub). Gently pat the child or baby dry and immediately apply an ointment within three minutes. Then dry or wet wrap the child depending on the severity of the eczema. A dry wrap over the ointment will be sufficient for mild to moderate eczema. A damp wrap should be applied over the ointment if the child or baby has moderate to severe eczema. Then apply a dry wrap over a wet wrap. Consider using specialty medical undergarments designated for wet and dry wrap therapy. While these garments cost more than average pajamas or cotton clothing, they are designed for the wrapping process and are much softer and much more comfortable and soothing to the child or baby. Also make sure your wet and dry wraps are approved by the FDA. Some companies in the U.S. are illegally selling wet wrap therapy products that are not regulated by the FDA. This could cause problems with your child’s eczema as you don’t know what is on or in the fabric. Below is a diagram of the wet and dry wrap therapy process for children and babies with eczema. Also make sure your wet and dry wrap therapy products for eczema have hand covers and anti-itch fabric. This will prevent the child or baby from scratching at the eczema which will also decrease the risk of infection. Keep the baby or child’s fingernails short and covered so they can not scratch and introduce bacteria into the broken skin of eczema. Wet and dry wrap therapy with the Soak and Seal process calms the itch, brings down inflammation and helps repair the skin barrier. For more information on Wet and Dry Wrap therapy visit Also, find out the triggers of your child or baby's eczema.  Knowing the triggers can allow you to remove them from your child's environment.  Triggers can include chemicals/irritants that are often in laundry detergents and soaps.  They can also be environmental such as pollen, pet dander or dust mites.  Eczema triggers can also be foods such as dairy or gluten.  To learn more about Eczema Triggers visit  Also consider taking your child or baby to an allergist.  Discuss this with your child's physician.

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