If you have to take antibiotics, go with your gut instinct

World

If you have to take antibiotics, go with your gut instinct

While doctors are cutting back on their use, this is how to protect yourself if you have no choice

Thea Jourdan

The days when antibiotics were doled out like Smarties for every cough and sniffle are long gone. Overall, prescription rates have dropped dramatically in the past few years as doctors try to combat the rising problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Last week, researchers warned that antibiotics may actually harm children who take them. Scientists at the University of Oxford and Public Health England found that preschoolers who take antibiotics for coughs and colds are more likely to get ill in the future. Their study, published in the latest issue of the British Journal of General Practice, looked at 250,000 children aged one to five and found that those who had more than two courses of antibiotics were 30% more likely to visit a doctor or spend time in hospital.

Scientists believe the drugs may kill beneficial bacteria in the gut...

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