Do urgent care clinics overprescribe antibiotics?

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Urgent care clinics are convenient when you don't feel well and can't see your doctor right away. But a study published online July 16, 2018, by JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who go to such clinics may be more likely to be given prescriptions for unnecessary antibiotics. Researchers analyzed 156 million insurance claims from 2014 and found that 46% of people treated at urgent care centers for viral conditions — like a bad cold, the flu, or viral bronchitis — were prescribed antibiotics. The problem: antibiotics kill only bacteria, not viruses. The study underscores the need to ask health care workers if you have a viral or a bacterial condition before you take antibiotics.

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