Background: Public attitudes and expectations contribute to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic resistance. This study assessed knowledge, attitudes, and experiences regarding antibiotic use for respiratory infection or illness.
Methods: Random-digit-dialing telephone surveys of adults and parents of children <5 years old were conducted in Wisconsin and Minnesota during 1999.
Results: The survey was completed by 405 adults and 275 parents of children <5 years old. The median age was 32 years for parents and 50 years for adults. Seven percent of parents and 17% of adults believed that antibiotics are never or almost never necessary for bronchitis. More than 70% in each group believed that antibiotics are needed for green or yellow nasal drainage, and nearly half of respondents believed that they knew whether an antibiotic was needed before seeing a physician. Exposure to multiple information sources on antibiotic resistance in the past 6 months was independently associated with a knowledge score greater than or equal to the median for nine questions.
Conclusions: The general public has misconceptions regarding indications for antibiotic use, and this may contribute to inappropriate prescribing. Providing multiple and varied antibiotic-related informational messages may increase knowledge of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and decrease patient demand for antibiotics.
(C)2002 American Health Foundation and Elsevier Science (USA).