If a runny nose and congested chest have you thinking of antibiotics, think again.
"For uncomplicated colds, zero are necessary; bronchitis, less than 10 percent are necessary; sore throats, maybe up to 10 to 15 percent of these patients need an antibiotic," says Dr. Jim Wilde, pediatric emergency medicine and infectious disease physician at the Medical College of Georgia. "Ninety to 95 percent of all infections are viral or low-acuity bacterial infections such as ear infections or sinus infections," says Dr. Wilde. Yet studies show that more than half of patients in the United States are taking bacteria-destroying antibiotics for colds, flu and bronchitis, all caused by viruses, says Dr. Wilde.
The worrisome balance sheet has Dr. Wilde, a self-professed foe of antibiotic misuse, regularly lecturing to health care providers, residents and students about proper use of antibiotics. Now hes also a principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health-funded study seeking to educate providers as well as patients on the hazards of antibiotic misuse.
Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
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