Knowledge, attitudes and misconceptions of primary care physicians regarding fever in children: a cross sectional study

Ital J Pediatr. 2012 Sep 5;38:40. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-38-40.


Background: Fever is an extremely common sign in paediatric patients and the most common cause for a child to be taken to the doctor. The literature indicates that physicians and parents have too many misconceptions and conflicting results about fever management. In this study we aim to identify knowledge, attitudes and misconceptions of primary care physicians regarding fever in children.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in April-May 2010 involving primary care physicians (n=80). The physicians were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used.

Results: In our study only 10% of the physicians knew that a body temperature of above 37.2 °C according to an auxiliary measurement is defined as fever. Only 26.2% of the physicians took into consideration signs and symptoms other than fever to prescribe antipyretics. 85% of the physicians prescribed antipyretics to control fever or prevent complications of fever especially febrile seizures. Most of the physicians (76.3%) in this study reported that the height of fever may be used as an indicator for severe bacterial infection. A great majority of physicians (91.3%) stated that they advised parents to alternate the use of ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Conclusions: There were misconceptions about the management and complications of fever. There is a perceived need to improve the recognition, assessment, and management of fever with regards to underlying illnesses in children.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fever / complications*
  • Fever / therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey