(NaturalNews) Doctors in the United Kingdom need to drastically scale back on prescribing antibiotics for respiratory tract infections, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
"Management of respiratory tract infections in the past concentrated on advising prompt antibiotic treatment," said Paul Little of NICE. "However, as rates of major complications are much less common in modern developed countries, so the evidence of symptomatic benefit should be strong to justify prescribing antibiotics so that we are not needlessly exposing patients to side effects."
The majority of colds, sore throats and other respiratory infections are caused by viruses, and as such cannot be treated effectively by antibiotics, NICE said. It encouraged doctors to reassure patients that the drugs will not help them, or at least to wait before prescribing them. The use of antibiotics might still be justified in certain elderly patients or those showing symptoms of serious illnesses, however.
Respiratory tract infections account for 60 percent of the general practice antibiotic prescriptions in the United Kingdom, and approximately 25 percent of doctor's visits in England and Wales.
MRSA has a mortality rate three times higher than conventional S. aureus infections.