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Drexel study: older kids more likely to get inappropriate antibiotics

Cold and flu season is getting underway, and you can bet some worried parents will be asking a doctors to give their children antibiotics - despite the fact that these drugs, as we're told time and time again, do not work against viral illnesses.

A new Drexel University study takes a closer look at which patients are most likely to get antibiotics inappropriately.

In a group of 20,581 Wisconsin patients with upper respiratory infections, researchers found that adolescents were more likely to get antibiotics, as compared with children aged 3 months to 4 years.

Study authors speculated that this phenomenon may be due to the fact that older children are better able to articulate their symptoms.

The study, in Annals of Family Medicine, also found that white children were nearly twice as likely as African-American children to be prescribed antibiotics for these infections, consistent with previous studies.

One positive sign: overall, 6.5 percent of the children were prescribed antibiotics, a lower rate than in some previous studies.

The study's lead author was Jeffrey P. Yaeger, who is affiliated with Drexel and with St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. The senior author was Ana P. Martinez-Donate, of Drexel's Dornsife School of Public Health.

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