PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to assess parental attitude towards asthma and its treatment.
METHODS: A questionnaire was distributed to 6000 children from nursery till the 8th grade attending schools in different Lebanese districts. The questionnaire asked parents whether their child has asthma, chronic cough or dyspnea. Another questionnaire about the perception of parents toward asthma was distributed to those who replied positively to one of the conditions above.
RESULTS: 4051 students replied, 574 (14%) had asthma. The response rate in the second phase was 68% (390/574). The mean age was 8.4 + 2.7 years, 44% were females. 57% of parents believed asthma is hereditary, while 8% thought it is a contagious disease. 78% believed there is a role for herbal treatment. Their perceptions about the triggering factors were 57%, 83% and 17% for flu, dust and food respectively. 62% of asthmatic children have someone who smokes in their house. 67% of parents preferred oral over inhaler treatment, 51% believed inhalers are addicting, 63% worried about inhalers side effects and 84% worried about using inhaled corticosteroids. 37% of children have regular visits to their doctors, while only 57% received asthma education from their physicians. 68% of parents reported school absence due to asthma. 30% of the children were hospitalized for asthma in the last year; once 46%, twice 24%, three times 18 %, four or more 12%. Parents from high and middle socioeconomic class preferred inhalers (66% vs. 34%, p=0.02), thought inhalers aren't addicting (39% vs. 61%, p<0.001) and received asthma education (57% vs. 43%, p=0.002)compared to parents with low socioeconomic class. Symptoms of uncontrolled asthma were nocturnal dyspnea (64%), repetitive cough (76%), exercise dyspnea (61%), and dyspnea at rest (26%).
CONCLUSION: There exist significant misperceptions among parents of asthmatic children; mainly with respect to the effect of smoking, use of inhalers and safety of inhaled corticosteroids.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Proper education of parents is essential to improve asthma care among their children in Lebanon.
DISCLOSURE: Hani Lababidi, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information