U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that many children are needlessly given antibiotics for sore throats. A survey found that around 14 percent children went to a doctor for sore throat at least once annually and 20 percent ended up receiving antibiotic prescriptions even if a throat swab was not taken.
Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, but not viral ones. The survey also found that 30 percent of children under age 5 were prescribed antibiotics without confirming the nature of the infection. Also Hispanic children were less likely to have throat swabs taken than non-Hispanic children. Children covered by private insurance were more likely to have their throat swabbed than children covered by Medicaid, the survey said.