84% of patients receive antibiotics for infection-like symptoms, survey finds

Most patients who seek treatment for infection-like symptoms receive a prescription for antibiotics, according to the January 2019 IBM Watson Health-NPR Health Poll.

To conduct the poll, IBM surveyed 3,006 Americans on their experiences with antibiotic prescriptions between Sept. 1-15, 2018.

Four survey findings to know:

1. Ninety percent of respondents said that they or someone in their household had visited a medical professional in the last year. Physician's offices were the most common setting for these visits (73 percent), followed by urgent care facilities (9 percent), emergency rooms (8 percent), retail health clinics (5 percent) and other care settings (4 percent).

2. Of the individuals who visited a healthcare professional in the past year, 24 percent sought treatment for infection-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat or congestion.

3. Eighty-nine percent of individuals with these symptoms said the clinician discussed the appropriateness of prescribing antibiotics, and 84 percent said they were prescribed an antibiotic.

4. Ninety-eight percent of respondents who received an antibiotic prescription had it filled, and 96 percent took the full course as prescribed.

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