“Fever means antibiotic”, the Omani public’s attitudes to the use of antibiotics for treating the common cold

Boyd, Matthew J. and Al Juma, Muna A. (2018) “Fever means antibiotic”, the Omani public’s attitudes to the use of antibiotics for treating the common cold. SelfCare . ISSN 2042-7018 (In Press)

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Antimicrobial resistance is a worldwide concern to reserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in therapy. The irrational use of antibiotics is one of the factors contributing to antimicrobial resistance. In depth exploration of the public’s attitudes towards the use of antibiotics for treating the common cold will improve understanding of the factors that cause the indiscriminate use of antibiotics; and could have an impact on antimicrobial resistance.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals recruited from public places, within governorate of Muscat, Oman. The interviews explored public perceptions about self care of minor ailments. The data was analysed by applying the principles of constructivist grounded theory.


Twenty-one participants were interviewed. Emerging themes included attitude to medicines in general, comprising specifically the use of antibiotics. Some participants indicated that it was necessary to take antibiotics for conditions associated with fever or severe sore throats. They believed that fever and inflammation is always a sign of bacterial infection that requires antibiotics. Participants did not understand the concept of bacterial resistance but thought that overuse of antibiotics affected their immunity to colds and sore throats. Access to antibiotics for treating the common cold is highly influenced by physicians’ prescribing behaviours, and there was a clear variance percieved between the private and public primary health sectors with regards to antibiotic prescribing practice.


Due to misunderstanding, people believe that antibiotics are needed to treat colds and sore throats. These findings suggest there is a need for educational intervention and better enforcement of regulations in Oman.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2018 10:45
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2018 21:41
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/49498

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