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Parental knowledge, beliefs and management of childhood fever in Australia: A nationwide survey

Wilson, KM, Beggs, SA, Zosky, GR ORCID: 0000-0001-9039-0302, Bereznicki, LR ORCID: 0000-0003-3974-3437 and Bereznicki, BJ ORCID: 0000-0001-8463-4817 2019 , 'Parental knowledge, beliefs and management of childhood fever in Australia: A nationwide survey' , Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics , pp. 1-7 , doi:

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What is known and objective: Fever, one of the most common symptoms of illness experienced by children, often creates undue parental anxiety about the consequences of fever, which can lead to overtreatment. The full extent of this problem in Australia is not known. This study aimed to describe parents' knowledge, beliefs and perceptions about childhood fever and its management, and identify any predictors of the burden on parents when children are febrile.Methods: This was a cross‐sectional web‐based survey of parents living in Australia. Parents with at least 1 child Results and discussion: Of the 12 179 parents who completed the survey, 42.0% knew that a temperature above 38°C constitutes a fever, with 33.4% underestimating the temperature of a fever. Parents believed that there were many harms associated with untreated fever, namely seizures (71.8%), dehydration (63.6%), serious illness (43.0%) and brain damage (36.8%). Phobic beliefs were more common among parents who underestimated the temperature of a fever. Identification of health professionals as a main information source about fever did not significantly improve knowledge or reduce fears. Up to 65.0% of respondents indicated that they practice non–evidence‐based strategies to reduce temperature. The belief that ‘every child with a fever should be treated with medication to lower temperature’ was the strongest predictor of parental burden (ß = 0.245, P What is new and conclusion: Poor parental knowledge and misconceptions surrounding fever and its management are still common among parents throughout Australia. Large‐scale, sustainable educational interventions are needed to dispel misconceptions and concerns about fever, encourage appropriate and safe care of febrile children.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wilson, KM and Beggs, SA and Zosky, GR and Bereznicki, LR and Bereznicki, BJ
Keywords: fever, parental knowledge, children
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 0269-4727
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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