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Physical methods versus drug placebo or no treatment for managing fever in children

  • Review
  • Intervention


  • Martin M Meremikwu,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
    • Martin M Meremikwu, Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, PMB 1115, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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  • Angela Oyo-Ita

    1. University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Department of Community Health, Calabar, Nigeria
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Health workers recommend bathing, sponging, and other physical methods to treat fever in children and to avoid febrile convulsions. We know little about the most effective methods or how these methods compare with commonly used drugs.


To evaluate the benefits and harms of physical cooling methods used for managing fever in children.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group's trials register (October 2005), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 3, 2005), MEDLINE (1966 to October 2005), EMBASE (1988 to October 2005), LILACS (October 2005), CINAHL (1982 to October 2005), Science Citation Index (1981 to October 2005), and reference lists of articles. We also contacted researchers in the field.

Selection criteria

Randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials comparing physical methods with a drug placebo or no treatment in children with fever of presumed infectious origin. We included studies where children in both groups were given an antipyretic drug.

Data collection and analysis

Two reviewers independently assessed trial methodological quality. One reviewer extracted data and the other checked the data for accuracy. Results were expressed as risk ratio with 95% confidence intervals for binary outcomes, and mean difference for continuous data.

Main results

Seven trials, involving 467 participants, met the inclusion criteria. One small trial (n = 30), comparing physical methods with drug placebo, did not demonstrate a difference in the proportion of children without fever by one hour after treatment in a comparison between physical methods alone and drug placebo. In two studies, where all children received an antipyretic drug, physical methods resulted in a higher proportion of children without fever at one hour (n = 125; risk ratio 11.76; 95% confidence interval 3.39 to 40.79). In a third study (n = 130), which only reported mean change in temperature, no difference was detected. Mild adverse events (shivering and goose pimples) were more common in the physical methods group (3 trials; risk ratio 5.09; 95% confidence interval 1.56 to 16.60).

Authors' conclusions

A few small studies demonstrate that tepid sponging helps to reduce fever in children.








我們搜尋Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group's trials register(2005年10月)、Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials(CENTRAL)(The Cochrane Library Issue 3, 2005)、MEDLINE(1966到2005年10月)、EMBASE(1988到2005年10月)、LILACS(2005年10月)、CINAHL(1982到2005年10月)、Science Citation Index (1981到2005年10月)以及參考文獻,我們也在領域與研究人員聯繫。




兩位評估者獨立評估試驗的品質,一評估者提選數據,另一個檢查數據的準確,結果用相對危險(95% confidence intervals)來表現結果與加重平均差異分析連續數據。


7個試驗(包含467位病人)符合納入標準;一個比較了物理方法與使用安慰劑的小型試驗(n = 30)發現兩者對於小孩退燒的效果上沒有差異。在兩項研究中,在全部都給退燒藥的病人當中,有給物理治療的小孩較高比例在一個小時後沒有發燒(n = 125; relative risk 11.76; 95%confidence interval 3.39 to 40.79);在第3個研究(n = 130),只報告體溫的平均變化,沒有明顯差異,輕微的副作用(顫抖和起疙瘩)在用物理治療的組別較常見(3次試驗;relative risk 5.09; 95% confidence interval 1.56 to 16.60)。





此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。



Plain language summary

Physical methods for treating fever in children

Plain language summary pending.