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Researchers: Kids are being prescribed antibiotics they don't need

Researchers at Seattle Children's Hospital have found that antibiotics are prescribed for children twice as often as needed.

Antibiotics do not help viral infections, yet the researchers found that doctors gave young patients suffering from viral infections antibiotics 57 percent of the time, NPR reports. When a person takes antibiotics that are unable to help them, it can not only cause side effects, but also lead to an increased risk of antibiotic resistance.

In Pediatrics, the researchers called this a "pressing concern," and believe there could be 11 million unnecessary prescriptions filled every year. With the exception of running a strep test, it can be very difficult for doctors to diagnose an infection as bacterial or viral, and researchers suggest that children over age 2 with upper-respiratory infections, sore throats, ear infections, and bronchitis should wait a few days before getting a prescription.