A local study by the Research Center at King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) revealed several misconceptions by parents about their children who suffer asthma with regard to ways of treatment and handling, and negligence on the other hand.
Amani Khalil Abu Shahin from KFMC, the principal researcher of the study, said that parents tend to neglect the severity of asthma, and exaggerate about the degree of controlling the symptoms in their children, in addition to the fear of side effects and total dependence on asthma medications. She also touched on the limited clinical researches on the concepts and practices of parents regarding their children who suffer asthma in developing countries and Middle East.
Abu Shahin added that the study was conducted in the city of Riyadh on two stages. During the first stage, parents whose children aged between 3 and 15 years were randomly chosen from schools in different areas of Riyadh and were asked whether their children had asthma (Frequent coughing, especially at night, wheezing in the chest, rapid breathing or frequent colds) or frequent dyspnea. Then participants were asked about the previous asthma diagnoses by the doctor.
The second stage of the questionnaire was limited only to the parents of the child with bronchial asthma or frequent dyspnea. Data was collected from participants using a questionnaire based on information obtained from published scientific articles in scientific journals. The questionnaire was divided into four parts, first of which covers the demographic information of the participants, while the other three parts cover the concepts and practices of parents towards their children with asthma in Saudi Arabia.
According to Abu Shahin, parents participating in the study reached 1450, of whom 600 (41.4%) reported that their children suffer from asthma or frequent dyspnea, while 478 (32.9%) reported that their children were previously diagnosed with asthma by the doctor. Therefore, the final statistical analyses were conducted on 600 participants.
Dr. Humaria Hina, an assistant researcher from KFMC, said that 321 (53.5%) of the respondents stated that asthma is a genetic disease only, while 361 (60.3%) expressed their concern about the side effects of inhaled cortisone, and 192 (32%) expressed their fear that their children would rely entirely on asthma medications.
Dr. Humaria added that 39.7% of the participants use medications to treat asthma in their children; while about 76% of parents have visited the emergency department when their children had asthma attack; and only 53.9% of the participants regularly visited the doctor regarding their children with asthma.
On her part, Abu Shahin called for educating and raising parents' awareness about the practices and methods of controlling the disease, in order to contribute to the improvement and development of the treatment of asthma attacks in children.