'Explain NICE fever guidance to parents'

GPs will need to explain the ‘traffic light system’ to parents if NICE guidance on assessing and managing fever in children is going to be successful, UK research suggests.

The NICE guidance published last week states that children with 'green' symptoms should be sent home with appropriate advice provided to the patients and carers - NICE 'traffic light' guidance helps to assess child fever.

But research has shown that allowing fever to be treated at home can lead to the use of ineffective treatments or the incorrect use of antipyretic drugs.

For the study, 181 parents attending a London outpatients' clinic were asked to fill in a questionnaire that examined their beliefs about fever and its harmful effects, as well as their treatment behaviours and sources of information.

A quarter of parents used touch to take their child's temperature instead of a thermometer, while 34 per cent used the ineffective method of tepid sponging to treat fever.

A significant number of parents gave antipyretic drugs more regularly than recommended, with many parents confused about their safe use.

Lead researcher Dr Edward Purssell, an expert in paediatric infections at King's College London, said that the study showed that parents either did not understand instructions about the treatment of fever, or they ignored them.

sanjay.tandy@haymarket.com

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