A current analysis of caregivers’ approaches to fever and antipyretic usage
Introduction: The aim of this survey was to investigate the current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of febrile children’s caregivers about fever, antipyretic usage, and temperature measurement methods in a tertiary care hospital.
Methodology: A 41-item questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of febrile children’s caregivers in face-to-face interviews by two research assistants from January 2012 through June 2012 in an urban region of Turkey.
Results: A total of 1,032 caregivers completed the interview. Approximately one-third of caregivers considered a temperature of less than 37.8°C (100°F) to be a fever, and 13% of all respondents would give antipyretics for a body temperature ≤ 37.8°C. Furthermore, 76% of parents would wake their children from sleep to administer antipyretics. Although a high proportion (89.5%) of respondents believed that fever had harmful effects, 10.5% considered fever to be beneficial. Alternating use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen (44%) and giving antipyretics routinely (71%) before and after immunizations were common parental practices and generally advised by pediatricians. Parents with higher levels of education were more likely to consider fever to be beneficial and to treat fever with antipyretics, and less likely to seek medical attention for mild fever. Most caregivers stated that they were unsure about the right site (90%) and thermometer type (95%) for temperature measurement.
Conclusions: Persistent fever anxiety and excessive antipyretic usage may be heightened by the lack of knowledge regarding accurate temperature measurement methods with digital thermometers in our population. Parental education may positively affect the approach to fever and antipyretic usage.
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