Author(s): Anidi I, Bazargan M, James FW
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Dehydration resulting from diarrhea continues to be a cause of morbidity, mortality, and increased health care costs in the United States. This study assesses parental knowledge of the causes and signs of diarrhea and dehydration. It also examines parental-care practices during an episode of diarrhea. METHODS: A survey was given to 219 parents/caregivers of children less than 5 years of age who presented to a pediatric continuity clinic. A bilingual interviewer was used to administer the surveys to participants for assessing knowledge of causes, signs, and treatment of diarrhea; signs of dehydration; and care practices during an episode of diarrhea. RESULTS: A wide variation in the level of awareness of signs, causes, and treatment of diarrhea was detected. General knowledge of diarrhea was related positively to accessibility of health information, level of education, ethnicity, and experience with dehydration. General knowledge of diarrhea, adjusted for level of education, was higher in African Americans than in Hispanics. CONCLUSIONS: In children, dehydration from diarrhea may be prevented by increasing parents'/caregivers' general knowledge of diarrhea and dehydration and the appropriate usage of oral rehydration solutions. Intervention programs designed to increase parents'/caregivers' knowledge must be culturally sensitive and appropriate for diverse educational backgrounds and must assist in improving access to health-related information.
This article was published in Ambul Pediatr
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics