Most people turn to antibiotics for coughs brought about by the common cold. However, a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians and posted over at has proven that taking antibiotics without anti-tussives (cough suppressants) doesn't provide any cure or relief.

A team of researchers led by study author Francesco de Blasio, MD, FCCP, of the Clinic Center Private Hospital in Naples, Italy examined 305 children with coughs; 89 took antibiotics, 38 had a combination of antibiotics and anti-tussives, 123 only took anti-tussives, and 55 children had no medication at all.

The results showed there isn’t much of a difference between the percentage of treated coughs in those who took a combination of antibiotics and anti-tussives and in those who only took anti-tussives. Interestingly, those who received no other treatment but antibiotics had a lower treatment percentage compared to these two groups.

That doesn’t mean that taking prescribed antibiotics is totally ineffective, as they can still help in treating infections that cause coughs. American College of Chest Physicians President-Elect Darcy D. Marciniuk, MD, FCCP, explains, "As parents, it is difficult to watch our children suffering from a terrible cough, but turning to antibiotics is not always the answer. Depending on the underlying cause of the cough, a health-care professional can recommend the best treatment options for a child, which, in some cases, may be no treatment."

If your child’s cough is starting to worry you, remember not to play doctor and “prescribe” medicines that you think will help. Antibiotics should not be overused, as your child may start growing resistant to them, which may cause problems later on. It’s still best to consult with a pediatrician for proper medication.

(Photo by changeiamvia Flickr Creative Commons)

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