Paediatric fever is a frequent reason of consulting a paediatrician or a general practitioner (30% of paediatric consultations).
Aim of the study: This investigation aimed at reporting the knowledge level concerning child's and infant's fever in a urban population and the resulting practices. Two thousand and six hundred questionnaires were distributed in June 2004 in the 29 scholar institutions of Metz agglomeration (France) classified in 3 categories according to socio-economical conditions of parents: 3 institutions of city centre (high socioeconomical conditions), 18 sub-urban institutions (intermediary conditions) and 8 institutions located in priority education zones (ZEP) (defavorable conditions).
Results: One thousand and thirty-eight questionnaires could be analyzed (40%): 176 in city centre, 634 in sub-urban zones and 228 in ZEP. Fever threshold at 38 degrees C is well-known and fever measuring methods used are mostly in accordance with the recommendations. The best room temperature was known and the use of antipyretic physical means underlined only a few cases of obvious mistakes. All parents were informed about worrying signs related with fever even if doctor's resort was excessive. Acetaminophen was the reference molecule before ibuprofen whereas the use of aspirin was decreasing. Antipyretic treatments methods used by parents were often unsuitable, leading to therapeutical inefficacy, overdosage or noxious drug interactions, mainly because of a lack of knowledge about drug components.
Conclusion: This investigation underlines insufficient knowledge and noxious management practices among parents with unfavourable socio-economical conditions which lead us to recommend targeted information preferentially in areas gathering together most unfavourable socio-economical condition populations.