Guidelines for the use of antibiotics in acute upper respiratory tract infections

David M. Wong, Dean A Blumberg, Lisa G. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

To help physicians with the appropriate use of antibiotics in children and adults with upper respiratory tract infection, a multidisciplinary team evaluated existing guidelines and summarized key practice points. Acute otitis media in children should be diagnosed only if there is abrupt onset, signs of middle ear effusion, and symptoms of inflammation. A period of observation without immediate use of antibiotics is an option for certain children. In patients with sinus infection, acute bacterial rhinosinusitis should be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics only if symptoms have not improved after 10 days or have worsened after five to seven days. In patients with sore throat, a diagnosis of group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus pharyngitis generally requires confirmation with rapid antigen testing, although other guidelines allow for empiric therapy if a validated clinical rule suggests a high likelihood of infection. Acute bronchitis in otherwise healthy adults should not be treated with antibiotics; delayed prescriptions may help ease patient fears and simultaneously reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Family Physician
Volume74
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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