What complementary and alternative medicine are being used for acute respiratory tract infection in Australian children?

Sandra Lucas*, S. Kumar, M. Leach, A. Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
Internationally acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI) is a common illness in children and sometimes with dire consequences. ARTI not only affects children’s physical health status, but it also impacts on the hospital system and community healthcare providers. Some parents use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in their children for ARTI. The purpose of this study was to explore this knowledge gap of the CAM strategies utilised of parents when managing ARTI in their children and the influences on decision making underpinning these behaviours.

Method
This national study used a quantitative descriptive survey design using cross-sectional data from an anonymous online survey that explored parent’s CAM usage in their children age 0-12 years with ARTI in the last 12 months, as well as decision-making behind this.

Results
The final sample of 246 primary carers data was predominantly female, aged 25-65 years. The most common treatment ARTI for children utilised by parents for ARTI is chest rub or herbal liniment. The principal reason for a parent to utilise CAM for ARTI was personal health philosophy. Formal education, CAM practitioners and journals influenced their decision-making. Many of the parents consulted CAM and biomedical practitioners with a desire for integrated healthcare.

Conclusion
Parent home remedies dominate their choice of management strategies. This research shone a light on the concept that this group of parents are making well-informed decisions influenced by education and journals driven by their underlying personal philosophy. Finally, the parent preferred a truly integrated approach to healthcare.

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