Antibiotics May Be Pro-Asthma

By Cynthia Dermody

Asthma rates in kids have reached historic levels. Why? Surprisingly, some experts say, it may have to do with our sterile life- style and overuse of antibiotics.

Exposure to bugs puts the immune system into fighting mode, and that’s a good thing. Case in point: Kids who harbor the H. pylori bacterium are half as likely to have asthma as those who don’t, says an NYU study of 3,327 kids. (Since the invention of antibiotics, this stomach-dwelling, ulcer-causing bacterium has been on the decline.) The discovery could lead to the development of a preventive treatment.

But until then, think twice about germ-proofing everything. Toss antibacterial soaps and cleaning products and use regular ones instead. And avoid giving your child antibiotics unless you know the infection is bacterial.