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Effect of pediatric Tuina on children's recurrent acute respiratory tract infections: a retrospective cohort study in Southern China.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of pediatric Tuina (PT) in preventing recurrent acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) in children.

METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study based on the electronic medical records of children with recurrent ARTIs in 2016. Children were divided into a PT group or a non-PT group, according to whether they had received PT or not in 2016. The primary outcome was the number of ARTI episodes in 2017 and 2018. The secondary outcomes were the number of ARTIs leading to outpatient department visits and outpatient antibiotic prescriptions due to ARTIs in the same time period. Negative binomial regressions were used to detect the association between PT and the outcomes.

RESULTS: A total of 2303 children were included in the analysis, including 94 in the PT group and 2209 in the non-PT group. Children who received PT six or more times in 2016 had fewer episodes of ARTIs in 2017 [incidence rate ratio ( IRR ): 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.42-0.84)] and 2018 [ IRR : 0.58, 95% CI (0.36-0.94)] and fewer outpatient department visits due to ARTIs in 2017 [ IRR : 0.56, 95% CI (0.38-0.83)] than children who had not received PT in 2016. There was no significant difference in the number of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Receiving PT six or more times within one year is associated with a decrease in recurrent ARTIs in children in the following two years. Randomized controlled trials are needed for effect evaluation prior to establishing PT as a method for preventing recurrent ARTIs among children.

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