It's become part of their social patter, as witnessed in conversation openers such as: "Pleased to meet you, do have an antibiotic", or "Can I mix you a cocktail, or would you prefer an antibiotic?"
A new study reminds us of this strange reflex. It's found that 90 per cent of all flu patients are given an antibiotic.
We all know that antibiotics fight bacterial infections, while it's usually a virus that sets off influenza. Even doctors know this, but they just can't help themselves.
In the study, which involved 166 flu patients, doctors knew there were no bacterial complications - and yet they still prescribed antibiotics in almost every case.
Perhaps they were just trying to be friendly.
(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, web release, 22 January 2007).
E-news broadcast 8 February 2007 No.332 [Subscribe]