Doctors and medical staff often prescribe the wrong medicine to treat people with a cold, a new study suggests.
In a study of nearly 500 cold cases reported in New York City hospitals, nearly one in five doctors recommended a cold medicine before it had been tested for its effectiveness, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers analyzed the use of Cold War-era Cold War medicine and found that about two-thirds of doctors did not use a cold medication before it was tested for effectiveness, and about 70 percent of those doctors were not properly trained on the appropriate use of that medicine.
The study was published in the Journal for the Advancement of Medicine.
It comes at a time when the cold season has been coming to a close and the season of flu has begun.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of Americans will get a cold this season.
The new study also found that cold symptoms often linger for weeks or even months after the initial symptoms appear, so patients who have symptoms for more than a week should see a doctor.
The authors say that in the current climate of uncertainty about vaccine effectiveness, doctors should be more cautious in recommending cold medicine for patients with cold symptoms, even though they may feel better when the illness is under control.
“We should be mindful of the importance of testing for the efficacy of cold medication prior to prescribing it,” said Dr. David E. Pimentel, a professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College and a co-author of the study.