6 Life-changing Side Effects of Antibiotics in Babies

Side effects of antibiotics in babies are rarely discussed but just like other medications, antibiotics do have side effects on babies. Some side effects are mild while others are severe. In this article, we are going to focus on the 6 life-changing side effects of antibiotics in babies.

There are many reasons why children may need antibiotics. Newborns may suddenly become ill as a result of bacterial infection. these are commonly caused by a group of bacteria known as group B streptococcus.

This class of bacterium is often transmitted from the rectum of the mother during childbirth and can causes diseases such as pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis in the newborn.

These infections can be diagnosed from blood tests and are often treated in the hospital with antibiotics.

Side Effects of Antibiotics in Babies


side effects of antibiotics in babies

Here is a list of 6 life-changing side effects that antibiotics may have on babies.

1. Allergic reactions

Quite a good number of antibiotics are known for triggering extreme allergic reactions in babies. In most cases, the allergic reactions are usually accompanied by hives (Urticaria). Hives are as a result of histamine released by the body in response to the medication.

This causes blood plasma to leak out of small vessels in the skin, causing an outbreak of the characteristic swollen red bumps over the skin.

Some itchy patches may also start forming on different parts of the skin. However, it should not be confused with eczema.

2. Stained teeth

Popular antibiotics such as tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline are known for staining the teeth, especially when they are given to babies. This is just one of the reasons why it is not advisable to give children below eight years old some antibiotics.

This is because their teeth usually undergo a process known as enamel calcification. A research found out that kids who took antibiotics during their first few months were at high risk of having stained teeth when they grow older.

3. Musculoskeletal complications

Some antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and fluoroquinolones are known for causing severe musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in babies.

These are disorders or diseases that affect the body’s skeletal system which comprises of muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and even the blood vessels. The disorder is characterized by uncoordinated body movements.

The movement of muscles won’t be uniformly executed. MSD can also cause severe pain and swelling of the tendons and joints. It can render children immobile for the rest of their lives.

In some cases, musculoskeletal problems can rapture the tendons and damage the nerves.

4. Ototoxicity

Ototoxicity is a state of being toxic to the ears. Some antibiotics, when prescribed to babies can cause both partial and permanent vestibular damage.

The result is hearing impairment. Some elements in the antibiotics may find their way to the hearing system. In doing so, they can accumulate to dangerous levels leading to ototoxicity.

Aminoglycoside is the most common class of antibiotics that is heavily associated with ototoxicity. Some of the popular antibiotics that belong to this class include plazomicin, amicacin, and gentamicin.

5. Photosensitivity

Also known as sun allergy, photosensitivity is a condition of being sensitive to sunlight. The victim’s body will trigger a series of reactions after being exposed to sunlight.

Quite a number of antibiotics, especially those for treating skin diseases in children, can cause photosensitivity. Such antibiotics cause structural and hormonal changes in the body making it be very sensitive to sunlight.

Sadly, this is one of the side effects that your child may be forced to live with for years.

6. Systemic Lupus

Giving a child high doses of antibiotics can lead to systemic lupus which is also known as Erythematosus (SLE). This is a condition whereby the immune system starts attacking healthy body tissues to cause widespread inflammation.

Some of the body parts that are usually affected by this condition include joints, blood cells, kidney, and brain. SLE can have a long-lasting effect on a child.

How Antibiotics Affect Babies

In summary these are only a few side effects of antibiotics in babies and is in no way an exhaustive list.

When dealing with the wellbeing of an infant, the best course of action is always to consult a physician or pharmacist to get expert advise on drugs, and to always complete the drug course prescribed.

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