Management of childhood fever by parents: literature review

Walsh, Anne M. & Edwards, Helen E. (2006) Management of childhood fever by parents: literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 54(2), pp. 217-227.

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Having a sick child is an anxious time for parents who are frequently very concerned about their child and have difficulty assessing the severity of the illness (Kai 1996a). One of the main indicators of an illness is fever. Many parents consider fever to be harmful (Crocetti et al. 2001) and a disease in itself (Singhi et al. 1991). Parents often feel disempowered when their child is ill and that they are not caring appropriately for their child if they do not treat the fever (Kai 1996a). A number of articles describing parents’ concern about and inappropriate management of fever have been published in the medical literature over the past few decades. Educational programs developed to assist parents manage childhood fever have proven effective. (Casey et al. 1984, Crocetti et al. 2001, Sarrell & Kahan, 2003). Yet, parents remain concerned about and mismanage fever. They seek information about fever management and reassurance for their management practices from family, friends, health professionals, books, magazines and the Internet (eg., Impicciatore et al. 1998, Crocetti et al. 2001, Allen et al. 2002, Karwowska et al. 2002). Medical literature interest in parents’ management of fever appears to have originated from an article written by Schmitt in 1980 (1980) where he coined the phrase ‘fever phobia’ to describe parents’ unrealistic fears about fever. Since this time parents’ fever phobia, confirmed by their overuse of medical practitioners for minor febrile illnesses, has been the impetus for the majority of research in this area. Studies conducted in the 1980s were descriptive and undertaken predominantly in the United States with some in Canada and Saudi Arabia. During this decade only two controlled intervention studies were reported from the United Sates. The 1990s saw an international interest in fever phobia. Descriptive studies from the United Kingdom, Italy, India and Israel and intervention studies from the United States and United Kingdom were published. The quest to understand and enhance parents’ management of fever continues into the 21st Century as researchers continue their search to understand parents’ fever management concerns and trial new methods of improving parents’ management of childhood fever. However, no studies report Australian data.

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ID Code: 5459
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03802.x
ISSN: 0309-2402
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 20 Nov 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 04:41

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