Home management of fever in children: rational or ritual?

Int J Clin Pract. 2000 Apr;54(3):138-42.


Fever is extremely common in childhood. Parents have been shown to have unrealistic fears, resulting in inappropriate management of fever in their children. This study was conducted to survey parents about their knowledge concerning home management of fever in children in their care. Parents of 560 febrile children were randomly recruited and interviewed in the waiting areas of the outpatient clinics or emergency room in four hospitals in Riyadh city using a standard questionnaire. Most of the interviewees were mothers, aged within 20-39 years. Although more than one-half of fathers and one-third of mothers in the study were well educated, most were misinformed about recognition and definition of fever. Most parents had poor knowledge regarding minimum temperatures for administering correct doses of antipyretic drugs or for sponging/bathing with water of the correct temperature. Most parents demonstrated a poor understanding of the appropriate frequency for checking the child's temperature and administering antipyretics. Only one-third of parents indicated a reasonable educational imprint by health-care providers. Considerable efforts will be required to educate parents about fever and its management.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Fever / nursing*
  • Fever / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Home Nursing / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology