A quarter of the population are estimated to visit their GP each year for a respiratory tract infection and this accounts for 60% of antibiotic prescriptions.
Patients should be educated on the typical course of the common self limiting conditions for those who are otherwise healthy. Patients need to understand that they should avoid unnecessary antibiotic use as bacterial resistance can affect them personally with inability to treat infections.
Ear infections typically last 4 days
Sore throat typically lasts 7 day
The common cold typically lasts 10 days
Sinusitis typically lasts 17 days
Cough / bronchitis typically lasts 21 days
Healthcare professionals can educate otherwise healthy patients on the expected duration of self-limiting illness, and provide reassurance when an antibiotic is not required.
Appropriate advice on prevention and self management includes:
References available on request.