Appropriate use of antibiotics for URIs in children: Part II. Cough, pharyngitis and the common cold. The Pediatric URI Consensus Team.Am Fam Physician. 1998 Oct 15; 58(6):1335-42, 1345.AF
This article summarizes the principles of judicious antimicrobial therapy for three of the five conditions--cough, pharyngitis, the common cold--that account for most of the outpatient use of these drugs in the United States. The principles governing the other two conditions, otitis media and acute sinusitis, were presented in the previous issue. This article summarizes evidence against the use of antibiotic treatment for illness with cough or bronchitis in children, unless the cough is prolonged. Although empiric treatment may be started in patients with pharyngitis when streptococcal infection is suspected, the authors recommend withholding antibiotic treatment until antigen testing or culture is positive. There is never any indication for antibiotic treatment of the common cold; it is important to understand the natural history of colds, because symptoms such as mucopurulent rhinitis or cough, even when they persist for up to two weeks, do not necessarily indicate bacterial infection.