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Parents' perspectives to childhood fever: Comparison of culturally diverse populations

Authors


Mrs Saliha Senel, Dr Sami Ulus Children's Health and Diseases Training and Research Hospital, Telsizler, 06080, Ankara, Turkey. Fax: +903123170353; email: drsaliha007@yahoo.com.tr

Abstract

Aim:  To reveal the perceptions, knowledge and practices of our parents regarding children's fever and to discuss the differences between other populations.

Methods:  Parents of 200 febrile children aged 0–16 years were interviewed between October and November 2007 in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Dr Sami Ulus Children's Health and Diseases Training and Research Hospital. Questions about socio-demographical data, children's previous history about fever, parental beliefs and practices concerning fever were asked.

Results:  Of the parents, 56.5% stated that fever could be determined by touching the forehead. Of the parents, 43.5% determined children's fever by using thermometer. Only 27.5% of parents knew the correct temperature for fever. Mercury-in-glass thermometer was the preferred one to measure children's fever. The preferred route of measuring temperature was the axillary site. Maternal educational level was significantly associated with knowledge on correct definition of fever and proper use of thermometer (P < 0.05) in accordance with the literature. If fever was untreated, of the parents, 84% believed febrile convulsions occur and 10.5% believed brain damage occur if fever was untreated. Parental age, parental educational status, parental knowledge about fever, median number of children in family and children's previous febrile convulsion history did not significantly effect parents' interventions and beliefs about fever (P > 0.05), corroborating the findings of studies from different populations.

Conclusion:  Parental education about ‘fever in childhood’ in our population may positively effect parental knowledge and approach to fever. However, parental education may not be effective in removing parental fear of fever in our population.

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