Out of the 340 caregivers parents who were interviewed, 56 percent reported that they were “very worried” about the potential harm fever could cause their children. Compared to 20 years earlier, more caregivers:
Listed seizure as a feared outcome from fever.
Woke their children often to check temperatures.
Gave anti-fever medications or initiated sponging for near-normal temperatures.
Forty-four percent considered 102°F (39°C) to be a high fever, and 7 percent thought that a temperature could spiral out of control if untreated and reach temperatures greater than 110°F (43°C). Almost all caregivers (91 percent) believed that even a low-grade fever could cause harm. The worst concerns listed were brain damage (21 percent) and death (14 percent).
Strikingly, 25 percent of parents admitted giving medication for fevers less than 100°F (37.8°C) and a full 85 percent admitted waking their child to give fever medication. When it came to cool baths, 73 percent stated they sponged their child to treat a fever. However, 24 percent sponged at temperatures less than 100°F (38°C) and nearly 20 percent used alcohol instead of cool water.
In 2000 PEDIATRICS reported that 50 percent of pediatricians surveyed stated they advised parents to alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen, using various regimens despite no evidence to support this protocol. beneficial.
Many parents incorrectly believe that antipyretic use is always a safe intervention. They have not been warned that antipyretics can cause side effects ranging from liver and renal failure, to serious skin disorders (e.g., Stevens-Johnson syndrome) and gastrointestinal ulceration. It has been reported that 89 percent of caregivers administer antipyretics to febrile children who appear otherwise comfortable, as many as 50 percent of parents routinely give incorrect antipyretic doses to young children and 86 percent would schedule a clinic visit for a fever less than 38°C (100°F).