A new European study suggests frequent inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the treatment of mostly viral respiratory infections.
The study, carried out in UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Germany showed that antibiotic prescription rates were lowest in July and August and rose continuously until reaching their peak between December and March of the following year. The authors concluded that the strong increases of antibiotic prescriptions in winter months in high utilising countries such as Italy, most likely result from frequent antibiotic treatment of mostly viral infections. Prescription rates were highest among children in the age group ≤4 years in all countries, predominantly due to high use of broad spectrum penicillins.
The study suggests that promoting good respiratory hygiene amongst children could reduce the need for antibiotic prescribing. Good respiratory hygiene means:
– Block coughs and sneezes (preferably with a tissue)
– Dispose of tissues immediately and safely
– Wash your hands
– Remember that respiratory viruses are easily spread to others via hands and hand contact surfaces
The study can be found HERE