Childhood fever : parents’ overuse antipyretics to prevent perceived harm [abstract]

Walsh, Anne M. (2008) Childhood fever : parents’ overuse antipyretics to prevent perceived harm [abstract]. In RCNA Annual Conference : Celebrating Professional Excellence in Nursing Program and the 42nd Patricia Chomley Memorial Oration, 25–27 September 2008, Sheraton Hotel, Perth, Western Australia. (Unpublished)

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Background: Internationally parents are increasingly managing fever with antipyretics and alternating antipyretics to normalise fever despite three decades of evidence purporting the immunological benefits of fever. Theoretical determinants of parents’ fever management practices and Australian parents’ practices have not been reported.----- Methods: A community-based survey of 401 Queensland parents of children aged 6-months to 5-years. Parents were recruited through advertising, face-to-face and snowball methods. Knowledge, beliefs and practices were determined descriptively; structural equation modelling determined predictors of intentions to reduce fever with antipyretics, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior.----- Results: Parents believed fever harmful (89%) and used antipyretics (92%) to reduce fever (mean 38.3±0.6ºC) despite believing antipyretics harmful (73%). Half (52%) had alternated antipyretics and 36% administered antipyretics too frequently: paracetamol 4%; ibuprofen 32%. Parents with one child did not know how to best manage fever (40%), received conflicting information (51%) and gave antipyretics too frequently (43%). Fever management was learnt from doctors 61%, nurses 19%, past experience 39%, literature 26%, peers 24%, mothers 23% and other family members 13%. Nearly half (42%) received conflicting information causing confusion and increasing concerns (66%) and frustration (16%). Beliefs that fever could cause harm (-.30) and significant others, specifically husbands/partners and doctors, expected fever reduced (-.38) and having a child who took medications easily (.28) predicted 68% of the variance in intentions to reduce fever with medications.----- Conclusions: As advocates for children’s health, child, paediatric and practice nurses must educate parents, particularly first-time parents, in and model evidence-based fever management. The perceived need to normalise fever to prevent harm must be addressed to reduce not only unnecessary antipyretic use, including overdose, but also parents’ erroneous beliefs about negative outcomes from childhood fever.

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ID Code: 20704
Item Type: Conference Item (Other)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Evidence-based fever management, Paediatric nursing, Parent education, Antipyretics
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PAEDIATRICS AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE (111400) > Paediatrics (111403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Nursing not elsewhere classified (111099)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 02 Jun 2009 23:11
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2009 23:11

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