Caregivers perception of childhood fever in Ilorin, North-Central Nigeria
Background: Fever remains a common clinical indicator of disease, accounting alone for over 25% of paediatric emergency rooms consultations. Perception of this important sign is a crucial prelude and determinant of outcome in febrile children. The aim was to determine knowledge and attitudes of parents regarding fever in their children. Methods: The study is a crosssectional descriptive study carried out at the Emergency Paediatric Unit of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH). Fourhundred under-five children presenting with fever were recruited along with their caregivers. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to collect information on sociodemographics, and caregiver’s knowledge and attitudes regarding fever in their wards. Results: The mean age of the caregivers was 29.5 ± 4.46 years (Range 21 – 41 years). Only 30.3% of caregivers could correctly describe what fever was. The most frequently utilised fever detection method was tactile assessment. Only 3.2% of the caregivers used a thermometer to detect fever. Social class, maternal age and religion significantly influenced the decision to use thermometers. The most common remedies caregivers would use for fever in their children were to give paracetamol (96.3%), sponging (73.2%) and a warm bath (63.8%). About 61% of caregivers had a wrong perception of the possible complications of fever. Conclusions: Caregivers in this study had a poor knowledge of fever, and parental educational and socioeconomic status impacted on their responses to fever. There is a need for education of caregivers at all contacts with the healthcare system on fever, and its management.
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