Parental knowledge, concerns, and management of childhood fever in Taiwan

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Background: Childhood fever is a commonly treated condition in medical settings. Many studies around the world have reported on the phenomenon of parental fever phobia. Studies of parental knowledge regarding childhood fever are lacking in Taiwan. Purpose: This study explores parental knowledge, concerns, and management of childhood fever and their correlates in Taiwan. Methods: This study used a cross-sectional survey and selfadministered questionnaire. Six hundred forty-nine parents were recruited as participants from pediatric clinics and kindergartens in southern Taiwan. Results: Nearly half (47.2%) of participants incompletely understood the healthcare information about childhood fever provided by physicians and nurses. Furthermore, 41.6% of parents were dissatisfied with the information provided. The median score of parental knowledge was 10 (interquartile range [IQR] = [8, 12] out of amaximum of 23). Parent gender, religion, education level, and occupation were independent predictors of knowledge scores. Parents who were never or sometimes concerned about childhood fever had significantly higher knowledge scores than those who were always concerned about childhood fever (median knowledge score: 11, IQR = [9, 13] vs. 10, IQR = [8, 11]). Most parents followed Western medical advice to manage childhood fever; however, 31.1% of parents combined this with traditional folk treatments. Levels of concern among parents included 86.6% of parents who frequently or always worried about their children's fever. Fever-induced anxiety was reported by 68.8% of the parents. Conclusions/ Implications for Practice: Participants' lack of fever-related knowledgewas because, in part, of either their not understanding or their dissatisfaction with provided information. The higher level of concern comparedwith other countries and studies indicates that parents in Taiwan need appropriate information about fevermanagement to alleviate their concerns and guide them in caring for their febrile children. Copyright © 2013 Taiwan Nurses Association.

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Journal of Nursing Research