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GPs go forth

'No antibiotic for cough without fever'

Children with a cough but no fever or chest signs are unlikely to develop complications and are less likely to need antibiotics, a study shows.

The researchers, from the University of Bristol, said they hoped the finding would help GPs cut the use of antibiotics, which are currently prescribed to between 40 and 70 per cent of children with a cough.

The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice (January), followed 256 non-asthmatic children in eight practices with a cough lasting less than 28 days to judge the predictive value of symptoms and signs.

Just 6 per cent of children with a cough but without chest or fever signs developed complications, compared with 40 per cent of children with both chest and fever signs. Some 18 per cent of children with only chest signs and 28 per cent of children with only fever developed complications.

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