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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(2):CD004264.

Physical methods for treating fever in children.

Author information

  • 1Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, PMB 1115, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. meremiku@skannet.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Health workers recommend bathing, sponging and other physical methods to treat fever in children and to avoid febrile convulsions. We know little about the most effective methods, or how these methods compare with commonly used drugs.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the benefits and harms of physical cooling methods used for managing fever in children.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group specialized trials register (February 2003), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Issue 1, 2003), MEDLINE (1966 to February 2003), EMBASE (1988 to November 2002), CINHAL (1982 to February 2003), LILACS (February 2003), Science Citation Index (1981 to February 2003), and reference lists of articles. We also contacted researchers in the field.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomized and quasi-randomized trials comparing physical methods with a drug placebo or no treatment in children with fever of presumed infectious origin. Studies where children in both groups were given an antipyretic drug were included.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two reviewers independently assessed trial methodological quality. One reviewer extracted data and the other checked the data for accuracy. Results were expressed as Relative Risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for discrete variables, and weighted mean differences for continuous outcomes.

MAIN RESULTS:

Seven trials, involving 467 participants, met the inclusion criteria. One small trial (n = 30), comparing physical methods with drug placebo, did not demonstrate a difference in the proportion of children without fever by one hour after treatment in a comparison between physical methods alone and drug placebo. In 2 studies, where all children received an anti-pyretic drug, physical methods resulted in a higher proportion of children without fever at one hour (n=125, RR 11.8, CI 3.39 to 40.8). I; in a third study (n=130), which only reported mean change in temperature, no differences wereas detected. Mild adverse events (shivering and goose pimples) were more common in the physical methods group (3 trials, RR 5.09; CI 1.56 to 16.60).

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:

A few small studies demonstrate that tepid sponging helps to reduce fever in children.

PMID:
12804512
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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