The relationship between antibiotic therapy in early childhood and the symptoms of allergy in children aged 6-8 years - the questionnaire study results

Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2012 Sep;25(4):470-80. doi: 10.2478/S13382-012-0056-0. Epub 2012 Dec 3.


Introduction: Studies based on the ISAAC questionnaire suggest a correlation between the use of antibiotics and the prevalence of asthma and allergy in children aged 6-7 years. The number of courses of antibiotic therapy is an important factor.

Objectives: To investigate the relationship between the use of antibiotics during the first years of life and the prevalence of allergy and asthma among children (aged 6-8 years) in the urban population of Poland.

Materials and methods: A survey-based study with a self-completed questionnaire. The respondents were parents of children aged 6-8 years living in Warszawa, Poland. 1461 completed questionnaires were collected.

Results: Asthma was declared in 4.3% of the children. Wheezing and/or sibilant rhonchi within 12 months before the study was observed in 13.5% of the cases. Asthma medication was taken by 21.8% of the children. Allergic rhinitis was declared in 18.7% of the children. Problems with sneezing, rhinorrhea, and nasal congestion not associated with cold or fever were observed in 40.7% of the children. The analysis of the odds ratios between the use of antibiotics and the symptoms of allergic diseases revealed a clear correlation. The highest odds ratio was observed between the completion of over three courses of antibiotic therapy prior to the age of 12 months and the declaration of one of the following: asthma (OR = 5.59, 95% CI: 2.6-12.01), wheezing and/or sibilant rhonchi (OR = 4.68, 95% CI: 3.01-7.27) and taking medicines for breathlessness (OR = 5.12, 95% CI: 3.42-7.68).

Conclusions: There is a direct relationship between antibiotic use in the first 3 years of life and asthma and allergy symptoms in children aged 6-8 years old.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Sounds
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sneezing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents