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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44-50

Mothers' perception and management of childhood fevers at the University of Nigeria teaching hospital (UNTH), Enugu

1 Department Of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Institute of Child Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
B N Tagbo
Department Of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: A mother's knowledge and perception of fever may determine the degree of her anxiety and fear, and reflect on the way the fever is managed at home. This study was carried out to determine the knowledge, perception and practice towards childhood fevers among mothers at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out over a 6 week period. Data were collected from 179 mothers using a semi structured interviewer administered questionnaire. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 32.9 ± 7.1 years and majority were multiparous mothers. Seventy-seven percent had either secondary or tertiary education. Majority (74%) reported malaria as a common cause of fever while some reported teething (80%), witchcraft (26%), ‘ntiwa-isi’(widened anterior fontanelle-56%), spiritual attack (34%) and ‘nta’(marasmus-52%). Eighty percent knew fever could cause convulsion while others thought it could lead to blindness, anaemia, weakness, brain damage and death. Most of the mothers used cold water bath and exposure on their febrile children while others applied coverings and ointments. Majority gave drugs inappropriately and none had knowledge of the temperature that indicates fever. Conclusion: Understanding mothers' perception may help Paediatric care providers to identify wrong practices towards fever and promote a more appropriate fever management.

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