Consultation to complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in the pediatric population is becoming more frequent.
To assess the prevalence of the consultations, the communication with their doctors and the characteristics of patients and families who consult CAM.
A transversal study was done. All healthy children age 4 to 17 who attended with a responsible adult to the emergency unit were included. The sample was taken in a consecutive non randomized way.
Two hundred and eighty carers of the children were invited to participate in the study and 246 completed the survey. All of the patients had their basic needs satisfied and a health insurance. The medium age of the children was 9.2 and the one of the carers 39.6 years. In 72% of the visits the carer was the mother and in 24% the father. Some CAM was known by 84.5% and 13% had consulted in some opportunity. Homeopathy was the most known (76%) and consulted (8.8%). 96.7% of the children that used a CAM continued their clinical follow-up with their pediatrician but 42% of the carers did not tell this to the pediatrician. The carers of the patients who consulted CAM said that more time was given in the visit (42%), the symptoms for which their consulted got better (78.5%) and they found an answer to their child's health problem (87%).
From surveyed people, 84.5% knew about CAM and 13% of the children had consulted at some moment. Homeopathy was the most known (76%) and the most consulted (8.8%). Almost all of the children that consulted a CAM continued their clinical follow-up with their pediatrician but 42% didn't tell them about their consultation.
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