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Proper Treatment of Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are illnesses most often caused by viruses that can last upwards of 10 to 14 days. Since they are usually caused by viruses, antibiotics do not cure these infections.

Over-prescribing antibiotics is a hot topic in pediatric health care. Not only does it lead to the development of “superbugs” that are immune to antibiotics, but some medications cause side effects in children like headaches, stomach aches or rashes. Antibiotics only help treat illnesses caused by bacteria, not viruses. Plus, the body is often able to fight off certain illnesses, such as upper respiratory infections, within a few days with or without antibiotic help.

That’s why Children’s Physicians monitors prescriptions for conditions like upper respiratory infections, to make sure antibiotics aren’t being prescribed prematurely, as they often are in places like grocery store and other quick-care clinics. In 2012, we scored in the top 10 percent nationally compared to our peers as 97 percent of our patients with upper respiratory infections were not prescribed antibiotics until at least three days after diagnosis.

   Our Score  
2009
   Our Score   
2010
   Our Score   
2011

   Our Score   
2012

 National Standards 
 Top 10 percent*  

Appropriate Testing for Children with Upper Respiratory Infections
Percentage of patients who were diagnosed with an upper respiratory
infection who were not prescribed an antibiotic until at least three days  
after diagnosis.


95 percent

94 percent

95 percent

97 percent

91 percent

*This means that the top 10 percent of facilities measuring this quality standard scored at least a 91 percent.