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Parental Knowledge and Perceptions of Fever in Children and Fever Management Practices: Differences Between Parents of Children With and Without a History of Febrile Seizures

Sakai, Rie MD*; Niijima, Shinichi MD, PhD; Marui, Eiji PhD*

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31819e353a
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Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare maternal knowledge and perceptions of fever, fever management practices, and information sources of mothers of children with and without a history of febrile seizures.

Methods: A questionnaire was used to survey mothers of children who visited health departments for a routine 18-month-old well baby check-up.

Results: A total of 386 responses were analyzed. More mothers of children with a history of febrile seizures than mothers of children without it stated that high fever caused febrile seizures and antipyretics prevented it. Fewer mothers of children with a history of febrile seizures than mothers in the other group thought that high fever caused brain damage and antipyretics prevented the disease from worsening and warmed the child's body during fever episode. Many mothers in both groups stated that they considered physicians to be their primary information source. Spouse and own parents were named as information sources among mothers of children with a history of febrile seizures, whereas books and the Internet were named in the other group.

Conclusions: Mothers of children with a history of febrile seizures demonstrated a higher rate of accuracy in their knowledge of fever than those in the other group. Mothers of children with a history of febrile seizures used personal communication, whereas those in the other group relied on mass communication for health information. Providing accurate information to family members is essential to provide mothers with both accurate information and emotional support.

From the *Department of Public Health, Juntendo University School of Medicine; and †Department of Pediatrics, Juntendo University Nerima Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.

Reprints: Rie Sakai, MD, Department of Public Health, Juntendo University School of Medicine, 2-1-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan (e-mail: riesakai@med.juntendo.ac.jp).

This study was supported by the Juntendo University President's Award for Distinguished Collaborative Research.

Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Rie Sakai had full access to all of the data in this study and takes complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.