A simple rubric could help clinicians determine whether children with respiratory infections should be prescribed antibiotics or not, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Using a points-based clinical rule consisting of short illness, temperature, age, recession, wheeze, asthma, and vomiting (mnemonic STARWAVe; AUROC 0.81, 0.76–0.85) the researchers distinguished three hospital admission risk levels: very low (0.3%, 0.2–0.4%) with 1 point or less, normal (1.5%, 1.0–1.9%) with 2 or 3 points, and high (11.8%, 7.3–16.2%) with 4 points or more.

“Rule constituents can be easily measured, taught, and remembered by a wide range of health care professionals, as well as incorporated into electronic health record templates and decisions tools,” Hay and colleagues wrote. “General practitioners and primary care nurses might ?nd this clinical rule useful to reduce prescribing antibiotics in children at very low risk of future hospital admission.”

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