Antibiotics Useless for Bronchitis

It's like your mechanic. Your mechanic says, "Your radiator is leaking fluid," and then fixes the leak. The mechanic wouldn't not fix the leak.

On the other hand, a doctor might say, "Your cough is due to a lingering virus," but not fix the virus, because, scientific studies have shown, time and time again that antibiotics won't make that virus go away.

Most doctors agree that if patients get a reasoned explanation, they will agreeably leave the office empty-handed, if that's medically appropriate.

Patients should instead save the medications for times when the drugs are really needed.

"While there are a few who are insistent about antibiotics, most seem persuaded if you take the time to talk with them -- to defer antibiotics until they are feeling or doing worse," Roberts said.

As this study suggests, a prescription won't always make minor illnesses go away. Unnecessary prescriptions could create more problems.

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