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Is fever phobia driving inappropriate use of antipyretics?
  1. Alexandra R Teagle1,
  2. Colin V E Powell2
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Brighton, UK
  2. 2 Department of General Paediatrics, The Children's’ Hospital for Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Colin Powell, Department of General Paediatrics, Children's Hospital for Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK; PowellC7{at}

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Fever is a common medical complaint in children; 20–40% of parents report feverish illness each year.1 In 1980, Schmitt used the term ‘fever phobia’ to describe parents’ misconceptions and anxiety about fever.2 We conducted a single-centre cross-sectional study at the Children's Assessment Unit (CAU) of the Children's Hospital for Wales, Cardiff. Over 3 weeks, a self-administered anonymous 23-item written semistructured questionnaire regarding beliefs, concerns and management of fever was distributed to a convenience sample of 78 parents/caregivers of children aged 0–10 years, attending with acute medical problems. This questionnaire had been validated in emergency department setting.3

We found that parents held strong beliefs about fever and had low thresholds for seeking medical advice or treating fever (figure 1). The risk of …

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  • Contributors ATR conceptualised and designed the study, collected and analysed the data, drafted the initial manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted. CVEP supervised data collection, critically reviewed and revised the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval  

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.