Background: The most common infections among humans are the acute infections of the respiratory tract (ARTIs). The importance of ARIs in Saudi Arabia is relatively higher than anywhere else due to the annual Hajj pilgrimage season. There is a paucity of evidence in the literature about actual intervention strategies to improve respiratory infection control practices. Nevertheless, prevention has assumed a paramount importance in the fight against ARIs.
Aims & Objective: To assess the knowledge of male secondary school students regarding prevention of ARIs and its determinants.
Material and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study included male secondary school students studying at two randomly selected general governmental secondary schools in Abha City. Based on thorough literature review, the researcher has designed a self-administered Arabic questionnaire. It included the following: Personal characteristic of student as well as knowledge of students about prevention of ARIs including Measures to prevent respiratory infections, vaccination, importance of avoidance of sources of infection and early symptoms characterizing respiratory infections.
Results: The study included 1030 male secondary school students. Their age ranged between 15 and 22 years with a mean of 17.12±1.06. Slightly less than half of the students (48.4%), recognized correctly the main causative agents for ARTIs while more than half of them (59.3%) recognized correctly the mode of transmission of ARTIs and the most susceptible victims for ARTIs (56.4%). Most of the students recognized correctly the different preventive measures of ARTIs (the percentage ranged between 84.9% for vaccination to 86.6% for proper hand washing several times daily). Students enrolled in the second or third grades, those whose mothers were university graduated, those having information from television or newspapers/magazines, those having a history of recent ARTI attach and being educated through physicians were less liable to have insufficient knowledge about ARTIs.
Conclusion: Saudi male students` knowledge about respiratory tract infections and about antibiotic therapy is often lacking. Improved health education may alter students' expectations concerning antibiotic therapy for their illness.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, Knowledge, Saudi Arabia, Adolescents