If you’re feeling under the weather for long enough, you may head to the doctor’s office with the intent of picking up a medical prescription to help speed up your recovery. If this sounds familiar, know you’re not alone in this demand for a quick Rx fix: About one in eight people who visit their primary care doctor come out with an antibiotic prescription, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The problem with this get-better game plan is that one in three of these prescriptions do absolutely nothing to improve your health, according to the same report.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts and other public health and medical experts, found that the majority of these unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed for respiratory problems like common colds, viral sore throats, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. The reason the Rx doesn’t work: Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, not viruses.