A new study may solve one of the biggest puzzles faced by family doctors.
American physicians write 47 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost all of them are for respiratory illnesses like colds and flu.
Doctors know that they are almost always caused by viruses and that antibiotics will have no effect on them. But they prescribe the drugs anyway.1
That’s because there’s a tiny chance a patient could have bacterial pneumonia. It’s serious and can be life threatening. And antibiotics do treat it. So out of fear they could be hit with a malpractice suit, doctors reach for their prescription pad.
The resulting antibiotic overuse has given rise to deadly antibiotic-resistant germs. They are virtually untreatable. These superbugs now kill more than 23,000 Americans a year.2
What’s more, antibiotics have serious side effects.
They can cause permanent, disabling damage to muscles, joints, and nerves. And they destroy beneficial probiotic gut bacteria that are important for digestion, immunity, and brain function. Plus, they have been linked to cancer and type 2 diabetes. So you don’t want to take antibiotics if you don’t have to.
New Study Could End Antibiotic Overuse
Now, a major new British study has developed a simple four-point test doctors can use to determine if you really need antibiotics for a respiratory illness.
Researchers from the University of Southampton in England followed over 28,000 patients with signs of respiratory infections. They collected data on the patients’ symptoms, test results, and treatment.3
4 Signs You Need Antibiotics
The researchers found there were four symptoms that were almost foolproof in diagnosing whether a patient had bacterial pneumonia:
- Temperature higher than 100℉
- Pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute
- Oxygen saturation in the blood lower than 95%.
- A crackling sound in the patient’s lung audible with a stethoscope.4
The study found that nearly 90% of patients with pneumonia exhibited at least one of these signs.
Dr. Michael Moore is a professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton. He led the study.
“This study shows that there are objective measures that indicate whether or not a patient might have pneumonia,” Professor Moore said. “And they are all factors that GPs (general practitioners) can already test for.”5
If you are going to a doctor for a respiratory illness, show him or her this article. Ask to be tested for the four symptoms that indicate pneumonia. Chances are that you have a cold or flu that will run its course without antibiotics.
But antibiotics aren’t the only medications that should concern you…
We list others in our special report, The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives. It’s an important read for you and your family.
Get all the details HERE.