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Rahmin, Bader, Al-Hashmi, and Salama: Parents’ knowledge, attitude and practice of antibiotic use for upper respiratory tract infections in children in the United Arab Emirates

Introduction: Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children and are a significant cause of antibiotic abuse. Parents’ attitudes often contribute to the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics and, thus, promote antibiotic resistance.

Aims and objectives: The study aimed to explore parental knowledge, attitudes towards and practice of antibiotic use in children with URTIs and to identify the reasons for self-medication and abuse of antibiotics.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted at outpatient clinics of Saqr Hospital and Primary Health Care Centre, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. A structured interview questionnaire was used to collect data from 239 parents of children aged < 7 years. A pilot study was conducted to test the validity and reliability of the data collection tool.

Results: The results showed that more than half (55%) of parents had a poor level of knowledge regarding the role of antibiotics, their indication and efficacy. A total of 68.2% believed that they would be satisfied if the physician did not give a prescription for antibiotics; however, 63% would request antibiotics if the physician did not prescribe them for frequent occurrences of URTIs. A total of 40% of parents treated their children with over-the-counter antibiotics if their child suffered from repeated occurrences of URTIs. Most parents (82.2%) declared that physicians did not provide sufficient information regarding diagnosis and therapy of URTIs.

Conclusion: Immediate educational interventions are needed to promote prudent use of antibiotics among parents of children with URTIs.

Acknowledgements: The research team sincerely thanks Dr Rasha A Salama for her continued support and help throughout the different research steps.

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