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Respiratory tract infections exert a significant burden on society through resultant school and employment absences and demand on primary care services. Most episodes are caused by respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus. Not only are there no effective antiviral drugs available to treat such infections, but our ability to manage their symptoms, especially cough, remains poor. Antibiotics are widely prescribed for acute bronchitis in primary care settings, even though their use demonstrates negligible effects on illness duration and correlates poorly with the presence of bacterial infection.1 ,2 Ineffective antibiotic use results in unnecessary cost and exposure for patients, and leads to greater bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Llor and colleagues hypothesise that airway inflammation in acute …
Competing interests None.