Misconceptions and Malpractices Toward Antibiotic Use in Childhood Upper Respiratory Tract Infections Among a Cohort of Lebanese Parents

Ghada El Khoury, Elsy Ramia, Pascale Salameh
Evaluation & the Health Professions 2018, 41 (4): 493-511
Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging global health threat. Misuse and abuse of antibiotics are of particular concern in the pediatric population. Since management of childhood illnesses depends considerably on parents' perceptions, the objectives of this study were to report parents' perspectives and assess their practices toward antibiotics used for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in children. Using a cross-sectional design, anonymous structured questionnaires were completed by 1,037 parents in public and private schools across Lebanon's largest governorate. Descriptive statistics were used to report participants' responses. A multivariate analysis was performed to identify factors affecting knowledge and malpractice related to antibiotic use. Significant misconceptions and malpractices were identified among parents. For instance, 33.9% of parents considered that antibiotics are helpful in treating common cold among children and 36.2% believed antibiotics expedite the recovery of their child with common cold infection. Moreover, there was a lack of knowledge concerning antibiotic coverage, since 37.9% of the respondents believed that antibiotics treat viral infections and 21.5% were neutral toward this question. Around 20% of the participants believed they can reduce the dose of antibiotics if the child gets better. Significant factors associated with poor knowledge and misuses were parents' lower educational and socioeconomic levels. Despite extensive evidence on the limited role of antibiotics in URTIs, parents in Lebanon continue to misuse them. More concerted efforts are needed to improve parents' knowledge and practices with regard to the rational use of antibiotics.


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