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TCIM Research

Sandra Lucas (2020-2021 HONORABLE MENTION)

Published on 10/1/2023

Complementary and alternative medicine use in Australian children with acute respiratory tract infection - A cross-sectional survey of parents

S Lucas1, Dr S Kumar2, Dr MJ Leach3, Dr AC Phillips2

1 School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. Electronic address:
2 School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
3 Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia.


Background: Acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI) is a prevalent condition associated with serious health and economic implications. A range of strategies is used to manage ARTI in children, including complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). There has been little investigation into this area, and this study aims to address this knowledge gap.

Primary carers of children aged from 0 to 12 years that utilised CAM for ARTI were invited to participate in the online survey in 2019. Survey data were analysed descriptively.

The 246 surveyed parents specified the types of CAM frequently used to manage ARTI in their children were home-remedies. Reasons parents reported using CAM were personal-beliefs and positive past-experience with CAM practitioners. Information sources that parents consulted when decision-making were education, naturopaths, and journals.

Parents utilised diverse interventions, with home-remedies dominating the choice. Parents were most likely well-informed. Notably, parents indicated a preference for an integrative healthcare approach.