Antibiotic Use In Outpatient Settings

Dec. 03, 2019

Over prescription of antibiotics has increased antibiotic resistance. We can work together to combat antibiotic resistance and appropriately prescribe these important medications. According to a Pew1 Charitable Trust report regarding Antibiotic Use in Outpatient Settings, 30% of antibiotics prescribed are found to be unneeded for treating conditions like viral illnesses and asthma exacerbation.

Common Conditions That Don’t Need Antibiotics

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)2 and other reliable sources have suggested antibiotics are most often inappropriately prescribed for conditions like:

  • Asthma
  • Flu
  • Common cold
  • Bronchitis

Using antibiotics when they are not needed can do more harm than good.

Alternatives to Antibiotics

You may consider other remedies when treating conditions that don’t need antibiotics, like:

  • Getting adequate rest
  • Increasing oral fluids
  • Using a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer and ensuring they have been properly cleaned
  • Inhaling hot shower steam or other sources of hot vapor
  • Taking throat lozenges for adults and children, ages five years and older
  • Considering over-the-counter medications to treat symptoms

The CDC has a poster, you can download and display in the exam room to inform patients of your commitment to their health.

If you have any questions about the appropriate use of antibiotics, please email the Federal Employee Program Quality Improvement Department at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana.

1. ( is the official website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is a public domain website, which means you may link to at no cost and without specific permission.