Magazine article Work & Family Life

Antibiotics Still Can't Cure the Common Cold

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Antibiotics Still Can't Cure the Common Cold

Article excerpt

A Healthy You

More than a third of the antibiotics prescribed in doctors' offices are for colds and the flu, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Trouble is, these ailments-as well as most sore throats-are caused by viral infections not treatable with antibiotics.

Richard Besser, M.D., medical director of the CDC's Campaign for Appropriate Antibiotic Use, cites "demand from patients, time pressure on physicians and diagnostic uncertainty" as the main reasons for the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Whatever the case, the situation has given rise to a public health problem throughout the world: namely, the growing resistance of bacterial infections to antibiotic drugs.

The CDC's goal is to educate patients, doctors and pharmacists to use antibiotics only when they are likely to help. …

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