WEDNESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- The chances that your doctor will give you antibiotics when you're sick may be influenced by geography, new research reveals.
It's tough to know exactly what factors contributed to the regional variations the research team found in antibiotic prescription rates, said study author Lauri Hicks, medical director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Why is West Virginia more than double compared to Alaska? I imagine there are provider factors, patient factors and cultural factors that are all shaping the impact," Hicks said.
Some patients may pressure physicians to give them what they perceive as a "quick fix" so they can get back to work sooner or return their sick child to day care, Hicks added. Unfortunately, that contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, she said.
"We should be thinking of antibiotics not as a magic bullet, but as a precious resource that we should only use when absolutely necessary," she said.
The researchers also found that there are higher rates of obesity and smoking in areas where there is more antibiotic use.
The research, published April 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers fresh insight into how the way antibiotics are prescribed may be affecting the growing problem of drug resistance.
Here's what the team found:
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