MADISON, N.J. — According to two new surveys of parents and pediatricians from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, more than half of all parents report feeling anxious, fearful or helpless when their child comes down with a fever. In addition, many parents are not managing the fever correctly.
This actually is nothing new to the vast majority of pediatricians (94%) who believe that parents need more fever management education.
To that end Pfizer is introducing a fever relief program this cold and flu season to educate parents on common misperceptions and best practices when it comes to treating a child’s fever under the brand's Children's Advil banner. “The pediatricians surveyed consistently hear three questions about fever medications: Which type is best for my child? At what temperature reading should I give medicine? And how do I correctly dose?” commented Freda Lewis-Hall, EVP and chief medical officer for Pfizer. “Parents play a dual role when their children are sick. They need to comfort a sick child while being prepared to make informed health choices. We want to help answer parents’ questions about fever treatment so parents can help their kids get back to being kids.”
“As demonstrated in the survey, and as I see in my practice, even some of the most seasoned parents worry about fever," stated Alanna Levine, Chidren's Advil spokeswoman. "It’s the most common reason I am paged after office hours. ... I like to reassure parents with ‘fever phobia’ that fever is their friend — it is a sign that their child’s body is fighting infection. The goal of reducing the fever is really to make the child feel better. During this cold and flu season, all parents should be armed with the proper facts about fevers and how to manage them.”
The Dose of Reality survey exposed several areas where parents may be making unintended mistakes in treating their child’s fever. For example, more than half of parents surveyed (54%) wake their child up in the middle of the night just to give them fever medication. However, most pediatricians believe a sleeping child should not be awakened solely to be given fever medication, but close monitoring is always a good idea.
Also, while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents keep their child home from school or daycare until the child is fever-free for at least 24 hours, 52% of parents admit to sending their child back to school or daycare less than 24 hours after their fever passed. The majority of pediatricians (72%) acknowledge hearing that parents send their child back to school or daycare within that 24-hour period.
Nearly 1-in-4 parents admitted to giving their children an adult over-the-counter fever medication at an estimated lower dose, rather than giving the children a medication made for children. This is something that one-third of pediatricians actually reported hearing from their patients. Parents should never give an adult product to a child. Further, while weight-based dosing is the most appropriate way to dose children’s fever medications, more than one-third of parents (36%) reported administering their child’s dose of medication based primarily on age rather than the preferred method, weight, which can result in a child not getting the optimal dose.
To identify the areas where education is most needed, Pfizer commissioned two national surveys — one of parents and the other of pediatricians. The Children’s Advil Dose of Reality study, conducted online by Harris Interactive, polled more than 1,000 parents on Nov. 4 to uncover the most common misperceptions parents have when it comes to managing a child’s fever. This was complemented by a survey of more than 250 pediatricians conducted by Sermo, to explore their views of parents’ misperceptions and topics where education was most needed.