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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


DURAN-BOLANOS, Luis Gustavo  and  AVILA-DE BENEDICTIS, Lydiana. Knowledge of caregivers of children with diagnosis of bronchiolitis hospitalized in at the National Children’s Hospital. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2020, vol.62, n.2, pp.84-90. ISSN 0001-6002.

Background and aim:

Bronchiolitis represents the most important cause of lower respiratory tract infection during the first year of life and the most important reason for hospitalizations beyond the neonatal period. It is usually associated with substantial direct and indirect costs, both for the health system and for families and society. The lack of knowledge on the part of those in charge of the disease can have two consequences: the misuse of health services, filling emergency services or late consultation. This study sought to identify the baseline knowledge that the caregivers of children with bronchiolitis possess, in order to detect the deficiencies and strengths of the education provided by our health system.


A cross-sectional study was conducted, based on a survey of 256 caregivers of children with bronchiolitis. For the sample calculation, the Win episcope program was used, with a power of 80% and an alpha level of 0.05 and based on a 30% prevalence of bronchiolitis in the general population younger than 2 years; once the data was obtained, a descriptive analysis of these was performed.


The average age of caregivers was 27.3 years (SD 7.6 years) and the average age of hospitalized children was 5.7 months (SD 5.4 months). The primary caregiver in 91.5% of the cases was the mother. With regard to the academic level, 60% of the population had unfinished secondary education and of the remaining 40% only 17.8% obtained a university degree. 25% of caregivers reported that children had exposure to passive smoking. Regarding baseline knowledge about bronchiolitis, 95% indicated that it is due to a virus; 89.4% transmission mainly by air. Of the symptoms of disease onset, fever 88.9%, irritability 87.5% and rhinorrhea 61.2% were indicated. On data of worsening, 99.6% identified the difficulty in breathing and 82.1% problems in feeding. With respect to treatment, 45.3% of the population stated that bronchiolitis always merits antibiotics.

In addition, we obtained a high knowledge of preventive measures: hand washing 98.7%, no exposure to tobacco 94.8%, sneeze with correct technique 93.7%. On the other hand, knowledge of the warning signs was poor: nasal flutter and cyanosis showed percentages close to 50%, followed by tachypnea, retractions and ultimately the poor response to the environment. Regarding the suggested information methods, 4.8% indicated posters and pamphlets, 22.9% talks and workshops, 18.8% media and magazines, 11.5% social networks and 2.1% verbal information from the doctor.


The study population presented a high level of knowledge about the etiology, transmission, symptoms of onset, worsening data and preventive measures of bronchiolitis. The most deficient areas of knowledge were average duration, treatment, risk factors for complications and alarm signs to consult the emergency service. Emphasis should be placed on the most useful information at the time of discharge, in addition to strengthening verbal education, it is important to rely on other methods suggested by the population to better transmit the information.

Keywords : Bronchiolitis; parents knowledge or caregivers; infants.

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