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November/December 2006 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet

implementation and to 18.7 percent during the second year. A variety of strategies were used based on the health centers specific needs and their office and patient cultures.
Impact of the 2004 Influenza Vaccine Shortage Impact on Repeat Immunization Rates
By Charles P. Schade, M.D., M.P.H., et al
Improving Influenza Vaccination Rates of High-Risk Inner-City Children Over 2 Intervention Years
By Richard K. Zimmerman, M.D., et al


USE OF ANTIBIOTICS TO TREAT UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

Millions of people suffer from sinusitis, making it a common ailment of the cold and flu season. The best policy for patients who might have sinusitis and do not have signs of complications or severe infection is to wait for natural recovery, rather than utilize antibiotics finds this study. A secondary analysis of 300 patients who participated in a randomized controlled trial finds that signs and symptoms of sinusitis and abnormal sinus x-rays do not help physicians predict the course of the illness or whether the patient will benefit from antibiotics. Although antibiotics are not generally effective in treating this condition, they are effective in treating a bacterial type of sinusitis that affects a minority of patients.

Another study about the use of antibiotics finds that patients with sore throat, who hope for antibiotics, may in fact be more concerned about receiving pain relief. In this study of 298 sore throat patients, the three most common reasons for consulting their physician were to find out the cause of the symptoms, pain relief and information about the course of the illness. Additionally, a patients desire for pain relief was a strong predictor for their hope of receiving an antibiotic. The authors suggest that physicians should address patients expectations and needs for managing pain when treating sore throat, rather than prescribing antibiotics.

In an accompanying editorial,
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Contact: Kristin Robinson
kristinr@aafp.org
913-906-6000
American Academy of Family Physicians
5-Dec-2006


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