Use of antibiotics in Eczema: Do they represent a new risk factor?

A study concludes that the use of antibiotics during the first year of life increases the risk of eczema. What is it really? What other risk factors? The responses of DrEdwigeAntier and Dr. Brigitte Virey pediatricians:

About children under seven years 15% suffer from eczema. It is an itchy skin disease characterized by redness, blisters, itching and flaking.

Eczema is located in infants’ cheeks, scalp, shoulders, chest and thumb for toddlers who suck and then, in children aged two years and older, the folds of the elbows, knees, wrists. “Eczema often appears about three to four months,” says Dr. EdwigeAntier.


Antibiotics increase the risk of eczema by 41%. This is what shows the study at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and the university of Nottingham and published in the British Journal of Dermatology ,. A study in which both react interviewed pediatricians.

“The French doctors are very cautious in prescribing antibiotics to infants, said Dr. Antier. And it’s rare that three or four months, a baby has already received antibiotics.”

And Dr. Brigitte Virey, vice-president of the Union of French pediatricians, adds: “The study is biased because it is an observational study, which does not take into account other risk factors. We do not actually know if these babies were born to allergic parents, if they live in an environment or not, etc.”


Among the various risk factors, there is of course the family history. “A child who has one or two allergic parents more likely to be, says Dr. Virey. Infants are also “sponges” and if there is a family discord, separation, or a mother a sick father, the child can express the stress and anxiety that it generates it by eczema.”

The environment is also important: “A poorly ventilated apartment with pillows, highly allergenic, and a pet in the home are also contributing factors”, Dr. Antier complete.

The power supply is also taken into account. “The lack of breastfeeding, breastfeeding or of short duration may increase the frequency of eczema,” says Dr. Antier.

We must not also forget the vagaries of the modern diet that are the additives , preservatives, etc. ” These are new risk factors , warning Dr. Virey. Like go too fast, the second year of life, not a specific diet for infants and give them, for example, almond juice, hazelnut … because it is the fashion of the plant. But it is highly allergenic. ”


If it is really difficult to avoid eczema, certain precautions can still be taken to limit, at least the crises. “Banish passive smoking is one of them, ” says Dr. Virey. And Dr. Antier added: “A natural life reduces the risk, with full breastfeeding, a mom with a diet low in fish and shellfish, an environment without animal confined in an apartment without cues mites that are carpet ridaux cushions.”

Diet plays a vital role as well. “Offer a specific diet until the age of three is important. And diversify rather to four months is also recommended by Dr. Virey because, at this age, food is given in small quantities which acts like desensitization. “It is important to keep the same food for two or three days, for example, three consecutive days zucchini or green beans. It makes it easier, if you are allergic to see if the child responds or not. ”

Side dress, only the cotton must be in contact with the skin. Wool and synthetic is avoided.


“Moisturize daily skin of the child is paramount,” advises Dr. Virey, “Especially with moisturizers quality as those of La Roche-Posay, Uriage, Avène to mention only these brands. Your doctor may recommend pharmaceutical preparations of cold cream starch and glycerol or glycerin and urea, for example.”

This hydration is insufficient in case of crisis. The steroid creams must then take over, even if the parents are often reluctant. In small quantities and for a limited period, there is no risk. “Just use them once a day, and then to decrease gradually, advises Dr. Virey. This gradual decrease as you can see at the end how long without application of corticosteroids eczema again. We can then make applications only twice a week or every three to about four days, to avoid the recurrence of crises, or decrease their intensity. ”

Hand hygiene, we should also think about cutting babies nails short so they do not scratch. And possibly make them wear cotton gloves so they do not damage their skin. “The baths are not recommended more than two to three times a week, especially when living in a city where water is very hard, says Dr. Virey. Other days must be cleaned her baby washcloth with a dermatological bar soap, rinse quickly sour the shower and dry by patting, not rubbing not irritate her skin. ”

In most cases, eczema disappears by the age of four to five years. But crises can return especially at puberty.


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