An investigation of professional advice advocating therapeutic sun exposure in infancy

Harrison, Simone, Hutton, Lesley, and Nowak, Madeleine (2002) An investigation of professional advice advocating therapeutic sun exposure in infancy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 26 (2). pp. 108-115.

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Abstract

Objective:To determine the prevalence of inappropriate professional advice advocating therapeutic sun exposure in infancy and the post-partum period.

Methods:Self-administered postal questionnaires were completed by doctors (n=130; 71 % response) and nurses (n=285; 58.6% response) responsible for the care of post-parturient women in eight hospitals in metropolitan and regional Queensland (1999/2000).

Results:Both groups reported several risky beliefs about the therapeutic benefits of sun exposure including using sunlight to treat: cracked nipples (41.1% nurses, 46.2% doctors); neonatal jaundice (49.5%, 34.9%); nappy rash (23.3%, 19.5%); and acne (12.3%, 20.2%). Approximately 10% of nurses and doctors recommended sunlight to treat sore/cracked nipples from breastfeeding, while 42% recommended sun exposure to treat neonatal jaundice. Relatively few doctors and nurses who recommended therapeutic sun exposure stipulated sunning through a window. Subtropical residence was a significant predictor of recommending sunlight to treat cracked nipples (p=0.002) and nappy rash (p=0.0005) among nursing staff. Midwives were more likely to recommend sunlight for neonatal jaundice than other nurses (p=0.004). Obstetricians (p=0.046), older doctors (p=0.049) and those who qualified earlier (p=0.031) were more likely to recommend sunlight to treat nappy rash. Paediatricians and neonatologists were less likely to recommend sunlight to treat neonatal jaundice than obstetricians and other doctors (p=0.009).

Conclusions and implications:An education program is needed to change the practices of health professionals who recommend therapeutic sun exposure and should coincide with a health promotion campaign aimed at reducing the prevalence of related risky beliefs among parents.

Item ID: 13482
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1326-0200
Keywords: child health; melanocyte; therapeutic sun exposure
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2010 01:54
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 100%
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