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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2014 August;66(4):261-6


language: English

Fever phobia among Italian caregivers: a survey in a pediatric emergency department

Saettini F. 1, Bettinelli A. 2

1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Milano‑Bicocca, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy; 2 Department of Pediatrics, San Leopoldo Mandic Hospital, Merate, Lecco, Italy


AIM: The aim of this study was to compare caregivers’ knowledge and management of fever in an Italian Pediatric Emergency Department and to determine whether caregivers of a single child or those whose child had a history of chronic illness report greater symptoms of “fever phobia”.
METHODS: A questionnaire was used to survey caregivers of children who visited pediatric emergency department. of the Milano-Bicocca University Medical Center at San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy. The study was carried out in winter, from December 2012 to January 2013.
RESULTS: A total of 98 responses were analyzed. Italian caregivers measure fever at longer intervals and fewer of them wake their children to administer antipyretics. Forty-five percent of caregivers either do not give evidence-based treatment, or do administer drugs more frequently than recommended. No differences emerge between caregivers of a single child or multiple children. Caregivers in the chronic illness group do consider lower temperatures to possibly cause complications, although they state they are less concerned about possible complications resulting from it. Furthermore this subgroup tends to use pediatric emergency units more frequently.
CONCLUSION: Caregivers aggressively administer antipyretics or take the child to the Pediatric Emergency Department in case of fever. Having an only child is not clearly associated with fever phobia. History of chronic illness calls for consideration in further studies to explore it as a trigger factor to fever phobia.

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