Parental beliefs and practices regarding childhood fever in Turkish primary care
Background: Fever is a very common problem in pediatric age and is one of the most common reasons parents seek medical attention. We aimed to investigate beliefs, habits, and concerns of Turkish parents regarding their children’s fever.
Materials and Methods: We performed a cross‑sectional survey which was conducted as face‑to‑face interviews by family physicians from April to June 2014 in family healthcare centers in nine different cities in Turkey. Parents with a child with fever aged between 0 and 14 years were interviewed. The participants were asked questions about sociodemographic data, the definition and measurement of fever, antipyretics, and other interventions used to reduce fever before presenting to the primary care center.
Results: A total of 205 parents participated in this study. Ninety‑four parents (45.8%) measured fever with a thermometer prior to presentation. Only 36 parents (38%) used the thermometer correctly. Thirty‑eight parents (18.5%) knew the correct temperature definition of fever for the measured site. A mercury‑in‑glass thermometer was the choice for most parents (78%) and preferred site for measurement was axillary region (85%). The fever was treated prior to arrival by 171 parents (83.4%). Paracetamol was the most frequently used antipyretic. Fifty‑four parents (31.5%) failed to administer the correct antipyretic dose, and 73 parents (42.6%) failed to give the antipyretics at proper intervals. One hundred and fifty‑three parents (67%) believed that if not treated fever could cause convulsions.
Conclusion: We conclude that parents share important misconceptions about definition, treatment, and consequences of childhood fever and tend to treat fever before seeking medical care with a substantial rate of wrong doses and wrong intervals.
Keywords: Antipyretics, beliefs, childhood, fever, primary care