Parental knowledge, attitudes and antibiotic use for acute upper respiratory tract infection in children attending a primary healthcare clinic in Malaysia

  • GC Chan
  • SF Tang
Keywords: antibiotics, children, parental attitude, parental knowledge, upper respiratory tract infections


Introduction: A study was carried out in a primary healthcare clinic in the Hulu Langat district of Malaysia to assess the parental knowledge, attitudes and antibiotic use for common childhood acute upper respiratory tract infection (UrtI).

Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 421 parents, who were surveyed by using an interviewer-administered questionnaire, from April to June 2001.

Results: Approximately 59 percent of parents from this study believed that weather was the main cause of acute UrtI of their children, 13 percent thought it was due to food, and only about 27 percent said it was caused by germs. Nearly 68 percent, 69 percent and 76 percent of them believed that antibiotics was helpful in treating the common cold, cough and fever, respectively. 29 percent of parents who thought that their child with acute UrtI needed antibiotics were not prescribed with any. On the other hand, 17 percent believed that antibiotics were unnecessary when prescribed. 28 percent of parents had requested for antibiotics, and 93 percent received what they requested for their child with acute UrtI. About 31 percent of parents who did not request any antibiotics claimed that private general practitioners habitually prescribed antibiotics. the antibiotic compliance was poor with only 74 percent completing the entire course, with 85 percent of them stopping once they improved symptomatically. 15 percent of parents gave “leftover” antibiotics, 24 percent gave “shared” antibiotics, and 5.5 percent bought antibiotics for their child with acute UrtI without consulting a doctor.

Conclusion: this study shows that parents often have inadequate knowledge and misconceptions on antibiotic use for Parental knowledge, attitudes and antibiotic use for acute upper respiratory tract infection in children attending a primary healthcare clinic in Malaysiachan G c, tang s FPeringgit Community Polyclinic Jalan Pantai PeringgitMelaka 75450Malaysia Chan G C, MD, MMedFamily Medicine SpecialistDepartment of PaediatricsUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaJalan Yaacob Latiff Kuala Lumpur 56000 MalaysiaTang S F, MD, MMed, MRCPAssociate ProfessorCorrespondence to:Dr Giin-Cherng Chan Klinik Cheng20 Jalan CB-1Taman Cheng BaruMelaka 75250, Malaysia Tel: (60) 6 312 1333 Fax: (60) 6 312 1333 Email: O r i g i n a l A r t i c l eacute UrtI in children. Improved parental education may reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescription and antimicrobial resistance in the community.


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How to Cite
ChanG., & TangS. (2012). Parental knowledge, attitudes and antibiotic use for acute upper respiratory tract infection in children attending a primary healthcare clinic in Malaysia. Malaysian Family Physician, 2(1), 5. Retrieved from
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