Article Text

Prehospital use of paracetamol among children attending the accident and emergency department
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  1. S Mason1,
  2. S Thorp2,
  3. D Burke2
  1. 1Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Northern General Hospital Trust, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Sheffield Children’s Hospital Trust, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms S Mason, Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Northern General Hospital Trust, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK;
 suzanne.mason{at}lineone.net

Abstract

Objectives: To identify patterns of prehospital administration of paracetamol to children who were perceived to be feverish by their carers.

Methods: A prospective cohort study of carers of children attending a paediatric accident and emergency (A&E) department. Carers of children completed a questionnaire to identify domestic patterns of paracetamol use. Data were collected on temperature of the child in the A&E department, administration of antipyretics in the A&E department, diagnosis, and disposal from the A&E department.

Results: Seventy five adults attending the A&E department consented to involvement. Sixty five of the children were feverish on arrival in the A&E department. Twenty one children (32.3%) had not received paracetamol before attending. There was a significant relation between knowledge of the antipyretic properties of paracetamol and administration (χ2=5.0, p<0.05). There was a significant correlation between fever and administration of paracetamol in the A&E department (χ2=23.7, p<0.01), however, 15 feverish patients (24.6%) were not treated.

Conclusions: Most carers administer paracetamol appropriately in the prehospital setting. Administration correlates significantly with knowledge of its benefits. There is scope for education of carers and A&E department staff in the in the appropriate use of antipyretics such as paracetamol.

  • paracetamol
  • fever
  • antipyretic
  • education

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Supplementary materials

  •  

    Prehospital use of paracetamol among children attending the accident and emergency department
    S Mason, S Thorp, and D Burke
     

    Web-only Questionnaire
    Questionnaire to identify domestic patterns of paracetamol use

    [View PDF]

Footnotes

  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none

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