Physicians', nurses', and parents' attitudes to and knowledge about fever in early childhood

Michael Sarrell, Herman Avner Cohen, Ernesto Kahan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated physicians', nurses' and parents' approach to fever in early childhood. A total of 2059 questionnaires was completed by the three groups. Though most of the responders (59.8%) believed that fever is a helpful bodily mechanism of the body, there was a significant difference between physicians (85.8%) and nurses and parents (63.9 and 43.1%, respectively) (P < 0.001). The majority of parents (62.7%) believed it necessary to treat children with low-grade fever (<38°C) without any other sign of illness, whereas the physicians and nurses did not (10.8 and 30.2%, respectively). Regarding antipyretic medication, 92.3% of the physicians and 84% of the nurses would start treatment for a fever 38-40°C, whereas 38.8% of parents would do so for a fever of 37-38°C. Febrile seizure served as a reason for antipyretic treatment for 34.3% of the nurses and 20% of the parents, compared to 8.7% of the physicians. Finally, fear of brain damage due to fever was noted in almost twice as many nurses as physicians (11.8% versus 7.2%) and in three times as many parents (24.0%) as physicians. Parents and some nurses consider fever a risk factor for serious morbidity, mostly febrile convulsions and brain damage, even though these associations have long since been disproven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Attitudes
  • Consultations
  • Fever
  • Knowledge
  • Nurses
  • Parents
  • Physicians


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