Perception, knowledge and attitude towards childhood fever: A survey among final-year medical students

Gregorio P. Milani, Antonio Corsello, Marta Fadda, Ilaria Falvo, Maria Lorella Giannì, Gian Luigi Marseglia, Caterina Cuppari, Eugenia Bruzzese, Mario G. Bianchetti, Peter J. Schulz, Diego Peroni, Paola Marchisio, Elena Chiappini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aims: Undue concerns about the consequences of fever and its inappropriate management have been documented worldwide among physicians. However, no data exist on medical students. We investigated the perception, knowledge and attitude towards childhood fever among final-year medical students. Methods: Between June and September 2021, final-year medical students of six Italian universities were invited to complete an online survey on their conceptions and attitude towards pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of childhood fever. History of relevant personal or second-hand experience with childhood fever was also addressed. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used. Results: Of 1095 (69%) final-year medical students, 756 completed the survey. Many students believe that high fever might cause brain damage, would recommend physical methods and alternate two drugs for fever. Most students do not think that fever has mainly beneficial effects. In Northern Italy, students are less likely to believe that fever might lead to brain damage (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.33–0.94), and in Southern Italy students are more likely to advise physical methods (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.22–2.57) and less likely to believe that fever has mainly beneficial effects (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.39–0.77). History of a relevant personal episode of fever during childhood was not associated with these outcomes. Conclusions: Misconceptions about fever are common among final-year medical students in Italy. Cultural factors rather than individually learned traits might underlie these beliefs. Medical students are a promising target for educational interventions to improve childhood fever management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was partially supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Health (Ricerca Corrente). Open Access Funding provided by Universita degli Studi di Milano within the CRUI-CARE Agreement.

Funding Information:
The study was partially supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Health (Ricerca Corrente). Open Access Funding provided by Universita degli Studi di Milano within the CRUI‐CARE Agreement.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society.

Keywords

  • children
  • education
  • fever
  • fever phobia
  • management
  • overtreatment

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