Background: We examined mothers' knowledge of, attitudes toward, and management of fever in their children.
Methods: Interviews of mothers of preschool children were performed using a structured questionnaire administered by interviewers with no specific medical competence.
Results: Of a total of 1,237 mothers who were interviewed, data were analyzed for the 707 mothers who had coped with a febrile episode in their children during the previous month. Of these, 59% were concerned about fever in their children and 17% were very worried. At the onset of fever, 48% of the mothers gave their child an antipyretic and 18% called the physician immediately. In logistic regression analysis, five variables were significantly associated with mothers' concern: the absence of previous information on the management of fever, temperature > 39 degrees C, an only child, mother's low educational level, and mother's residency in the south of Italy. For the request for a physician's visit, of the variables entered, the only explanatory ones were the mother's concern and the absence of previous information on the management of fever.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that informing mothers on the definition, consequences, and treatment of fever can significantly improve their confidence in managing fever, as reflected by fewer requests for physicians' visits.