New findings suggest that combining routine pediatric care with teleconsultation and email newsletters to parents appears to effectively reduce the prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants. This difference may be due to a reduction in parental stress, the authors report.
In a paper published in JMIR Pediatric and Parenting, investigators note that mothers of infants are prone to experiencing parenting stress, which can reduce the well-being of parents and children. They also write that prior studies have reported that AD in children worsens parenting stress and that postnatal psychological problems can raise the risk of AD in children.
To investigate how effective pediatric teleconsultation might be at preventing AD in infants and reducing parenting stress in mothers, researchers in Japan recruited 318 infant-mother pairs.
The pairs were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (140 pairs) or a control group (138 pairs). All participants received routine postnatal care. Those in the intervention group had a choice to combine routine care with teleconsultation and email newsletters from the date of their registration with the study until the infant reached four months of age.
Investigators found that the prevalence of AD was significantly lower in the intervention group than in the control group at the four-month checkup (20% vs. 33%, p=0.02). However, no significant differences between the groups were observed in scores on the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI-SF) and General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), which were used to measure parenting stress and maternal mental health.
There was a significant difference in AD prevalence between participants who used both teleconsultation services and email newsletters, those who only received email newsletters and those who used neither service (18% vs. 22% vs. 33%, respectively, p=0.048).
The authors conclude that their findings show potential for pediatric eHealth as a strategy for preventing AD.