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Antibiotic Prophylaxis in Acute Viral Respiratory Diseases

STARKEY D. DAVIS, MD; RALPH J. WEDGWOOD, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1965;109(6):544-553. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090020546009.
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"Amongst all my acquaintance, I see no people so soon sick, and so long before they are well, as those who take so much physic; their very health is altered and corrupted by their frequent prescriptions."

Montaigne

COLDS are common. The US National Health Survey for July 1961 to June 1962, reported 231,000,000 episodes of acute respiratory disease.1 Of these, 112,000,000 were colds, and 81,000,000 influenza. In that twelve-month period acute illnesses occurred at the rate of 222 per 100 persons. Acute viral respiratory diseases caused 60% of all acute illnesses; the Cleveland Family Study reported similar findings.2

The common cold is everyone's disease and has caused a profusion of all kinds of nostrums. The great losses from morbidity and great cost of remedies, home and prescribed, necessitate critical evaluation of optimum therapy. Since recovery almost always occurs, evaluation of therapy is difficult.

Prophylactic antibiotics have often been

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