Aim: The aim of this study was to estimate the rate and describe the characteristics of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by children with asthma in a paediatric primary care clinic in southern Israel.
Method: A cross-sectional study including 252 asthmatic children aged 2-12-years was conducted. Socio-demographic data and asthma history were collected using a telephone questionnaire. Computerized medical records were used to complete the data.
Results: Sixteen percent (95% CI 11.5-20.5) of the asthmatic children participating in this study used CAM; most popular were homeopathy (36.6%) and reflexology (14.6%). According to multivariate model, CAM use was more prevalent in families in which fathers had professional training (OR = 4.9, 95% CI 1.82-13.02, p = 0.002), mothers were employed (OR = 4.1, 95% CI 1.018-16.1, p = 0.047), and origin of maternal grandfathers was European (OR = 4.7, 95% CI 1.86-11.8, p = 0.001). Families who used CAM, also more frequently sought rabbinical advice (OR = 11.9, 95% CI 2.94-47.7, p = 0.001).
Conclusions: The prevalence of CAM use found in this study is lower than seen in other Western countries. The 'average family' using CAM to treat its asthmatic child includes an educated father, an employed mother and maternal grandfather from Europe, and would more often seek rabbi's advice.