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Weekly News Summary – 1st March 2018

Overprescribing

Welcome to this week’s news summary. This blog covers the main news stories relating to health between 23 February – 1 March. This week: studies show that one in five antibiotics could be prescribed inappropriately; taking daily supplements during pregnancy could reduce the risk of babies being born with allergies; and only three in 10 parents are taking their children to the dentist when they have toothache.

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A new study published this week conducted to assess the prescribing of antibiotics amongst GPs in England has found that a fifth of prescriptions given by GPs are to patients who do not need them. GPs were found to be prescribing antibiotics where guidelines outline they would be of little to no benefit. Most inappropriate prescriptions were for patients with a sore throat, cough, sinusitis and ear infections. Inappropriate prescriptions are increasing the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and lead to resistant infections.

Research carried out by Imperial College London has found that taking daily supplements during pregnancy and during the first few months of breastfeeding could reduce a baby’s risk of developing allergies. The analysis showed that omega-3 has an anti-inflammatory effect that could reduce the chance of a child developing food allergies such as nuts, eggs, milk or wheat. Currently one in 20 children in the UK suffer with food allergies. The study also suggested that probiotics could reduce the chance of developing eczema by 22%. 

Currently in the UK just three in 10 parents take their children to the dentist when they have toothache. Research on pharmacies show that two in three parents seeking pain medications for their children do so to relieve either toothache or mouth ulcers. Only 30% of the children had visited a dentist prior to taking pain relief medication. It is estimated that children visiting other health centres for toothache is costing the NHS £2.3 million a year. The data shows the importance of children attending regular dental appointments.

Words: Joelle Booth

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