OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this survey was to study the beliefs, expectations, and satisfaction of Canadian parents regarding fever and the treatment of their febrile children.

METHODS:

A survey was developed exploring caregiver beliefs and treatment strategies, as well as expectations and satisfaction with medical care. Some items were modeled after previous studies to allow comparison. Caregivers with febrile children were recruited from 2005 to 2007 at 3 urgent care centers and emergency departments in Edmonton, Canada: a pediatric emergency department (n = 376), an urban urgent care center (n = 227), and a suburban urgent care clinic (n = 173).

RESULTS:

High and rapidly rising temperature, as well as physical symptoms associated with fever, caused concern in most parents surveyed. Seventy-four percent of parents felt that the elevated temperature from fever was dangerous and 90.3% always try to treat it. Forty degrees Celsius was the most commonly sited threshold for danger. Identifying the cause (80.6%) and seriousness (87.4%) of fever were the most com-mon stressors identified. Caregivers expected to receive information about the child’s illness and appropriate treatment. The parents most often wanted information about febrile seizures and the potential dangers of febrile illness. Only 16.7% of caregivers expected anti-biotics. Nearly 92% of subjects were usually satisfied with medical care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fever phobia continues to be a significant issue for Canadian parents. As a result, they treat fever aggressively and often seek medical attention. Good communication is important for medical staff caring for febrile children and typically leads to satisfied parents.

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