Simon Searle-Barnes, Peter Phillips
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 9, Iss. 1, 06 Jan 2017, pp 27 - 32

Acute cough is one of the most common illnesses in the UK with an estimated
48 million cases per annum. The majority of these presentations are thought
to be of viral aetiology and self-limiting in nature, yet some studies report
antibiotic prescription rates of approximately 65% in the UK. Clincians' decisionmaking
process can be influenced by both patient expectations and difficulty in
differentiating between viral and bacterial aetiologies by clinical examination
alone. Despite warnings about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from the World
Health Organization, clinicians in the UK continue to have high prescription rates
for acute cough presentations in comparison to other developed health care
systems. This article will consider the feasibility, efficacy, benefits and limitations
of using point-of-care testing (POCT) of C-reactive protein (CRP) within primary
care in the United Kingdom to help inform management of acute cough.

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