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New rule could help identify children with cough who need antibiotics

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 02 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4763
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

Asthma, respiratory distress, young age, and short duration of illness are among seven characteristics associated with increased risk of admission in children with acute respiratory infection and cough, a large primary care study in England has shown. Researchers said that scoring these characteristics may help GPs decide when to prescribe antibiotics.

More than 80% of NHS antibiotics are prescribed by GPs, who have reported prescribing some antibiotics to reduce the risk of children with respiratory tract infections becoming seriously ill and requiring hospital admission.

The study, reported in Lancet Respiratory Medicine,1 aimed to develop a clinical rule to reduce uncertainty by stratifying the risk of future hospital admission in children with respiratory …

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