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Swiss Med Wkly. 2001 Sep 22;131(37-38):556-60.

Febrile seizures and parental anxiety: does information help?

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1
Children's Hospital Wildermeth, Biel.

Abstract

AIM OF THE STUDY:

To investigate the effect of febrile seizures on the behaviour and emotional situation of parents in order to improve our attitude towards these children and parents in future.

METHODS:

We analysed 135 questionnaires on parents' behaviour and emotional situation during and after a febrile seizure in their children.

RESULTS:

Febrile seizures were unknown to 44% of the parents. 121 parents (91%) reported severe anxiety on witnessing the first febrile seizure. In 69% the anxiety was so strong, that the parents believed their child would die. Severe anxiety was significantly associated with lack of knowledge about febrile seizures: 79% (no knowledge of febrile seizures) versus 59% (with knowledge). The level of anxiety appeared to be associated with low educational level, but not with ethnic background or income.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study shows that knowledge of febrile seizures among concerned parents in our region remains insufficient. The results are ambiguous. On the one hand we found an association between severe anxiety and lack of knowledge on febrile seizures, suggesting that information prior to the first febrile seizure might reduce the anxiety level and thus lead to appropriate reactions in case of recurrence. On the other hand although parents knew about febrile seizures, they still had very high anxiety levels and would react inappropriately in case of recurrence. Therefore if information is provided to parents, it must be specific, especially about which measures are to be taken or avoided respectively. A prospective study to observe positive and negative effects of preventive information is needed.

PMID:
11759176
DOI:
2001/37/smw-09790
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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