A wide range of childhood illnesses are accompanied by fever, many of which are treated at home prior to presentation to hospital. An assessment of mothers’ knowledge and ability to recognize fever in their child, as well as management instituted at home were the focus of this study.
One hundred and forty four mothers whose children were less than 12 years old, had fever as one of the presenting complaints, and admitted to the children emergency room of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital between July and December, 2006, were interviewed with a structured questionnaire. Information sourced were the demographics of the mothers/caregivers and the children, mothers’/caregivers’ knowledge of fever and its management. Mothers that did not give their consents were excluded.
Most of the mothers (83.3%) perceived fever as the hotness of the whole body of the patient. Infection was the most likely cause of fever identified by 43.8% mothers. Malaria was presumptively diagnosed by the mothers in 54.2% children similar to the 53.5% cases of malaria diagnosed on admission. Ninety-six mothers (66.7%) managed the fever at home. Home treatment was majorly by reducing the clothing and exposing the child to air, tepid sponging, and use of paracetamol. Antimalarials (6.0%) and antibiotics (7.8%) group of drugs were rarely used.
Home management of fever by mothers had remained symptomatic in Nigeria. In the era of artemesinin combined therapy as the choice of malaria treatment in Nigeria, trend towards not using antimalarial drugs as part of home management of fever in children was observed amongst the mothers.
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