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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803


UGARTE, EM; ORUE, C; SAMUDIO-D, GC  and  WEBER, E. Parents and Fever: What do they Believe, and What do They Do?. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2009, vol.36, n.3, pp.201-205. ISSN 1683-9803.

Introduction: Fever in children is one of the most common reasons for presenting in daily pediatric practice, and can at times be a source of great anxiety for the parents, who may take the fever as a primary indicator of a serious infection and which may lead to inappropriate use of the healthcare system and emergency services in particular. Objective: To determine the state of knowledge, attitudes, and common practices of childcare providers faced with a feverish child. Materials and Methods:We carried out a prospective, descriptive, cross-sectional study during July and August of 2006. We included caregivers who presented with a child at the pediatric emergency department of the central hospital of the Instituto de Previsión Social (social insurance institute, or IPS) independently of the reason for presenting. They were given a survey including 26 closed option questions measuring their knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Results: Most respondents were mothers, while 47% had completed secondary school and 37% had completed an undergraduate university degree. The temperature considered normal was known by 90%, and 60% used a mercury thermometer for measuring the child's temperature while 33% detected fever using touch. The belief that fever causes harm to children is generalized; with the most commonly cited by parents being seizures (32.6%) and permanent brain damage (12.6%). This damage can occur independently of the age of the child. The most common methods for combating fever were bathing (82%) followed by use of medications alone or in combination. Conclusions: The knowledge and practices of parents confronting fever were adequate, although more education is required concerning beliefs about the harm caused by fever.

Keywords : Fever; knowledge; caregivers; parents; patient education; child.

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