KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES OF MOTHERS ON FEBRILE CONVULSIONS IN CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES 0 – 5 YEARS AT THE BUEA REGIONAL HOSPITAL
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Background: This study investigated mothers’ knowledge and practices regarding febrile convulsion and how it is being managed in homes among women with children under five years Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted among 40 women with children with the diagnosis of febrile seizures. Data was collected by the researcher using semi-structured questionnaires.
Results: It was found that the majority, 24(60%) of the mothers were able to describe Febrile convulsions as a sickness in children which is exhibited by the child having high temperatures, only 10(30%) of the mothers indicated that Febrile convulsion is caused by twitching and fitting.
The results also showed that a few numbers 1 (2%) of the mothers had the belief that Febrile convulsion is normally caused by witchcraft and evil spirits while 2 (5%) of the respondents hold that it’s a normal baby illness. Regarding the home management of Febrile convulsions, most of the women indicated that tepid sponging the child, bathing the child with cold water; putting a spoon in the child’s mouth, and using traditional herbal preparation to rub all over the child’s body or it into the child’s nostrils.
Conclusion: The study concluded that even though the majority of mothers have good knowledge about febrile convulsion and its first aid interventions at home, a good number of mothers still have negative beliefs regarding the cause of the condition.
A febrile convulsion is a common cause of convulsion in childhood and about 4% of children in the age group of one to five years have at least one episode of febrile convulsion. The National Institute of Health defines it as seizures occurring in infancy or childhood usually between the ages of three months and five years associated with fever, but without evidence of intracranial infection (Bethesda, 2009).
This definition has been modified by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) as a seizure occurring in childhood after one month of age, associated with a febrile illness not caused by an infection of the central nervous system, without previous neonatal seizures or previous unprovoked seizures and not meeting criteria for other acute symptomatic seizures (Familusi and Sinnette ,2010).
Febrile convulsion has been described as the commonest cause of seizure in children under the age of five years (Berg and Shinnar 1996). The incidence of febrile convulsion varies widely from country to country. An incidence rate as low as 2-4% has been reported among Caucasians and as high as 21.5% among Africans (Ibeziako and Ibekwe,2002).
In spite of the above statistics, empirical studies have also shown that parental knowledge of skillful home management of fever and febrile convulsion can prevent about sixty to sixty-five percent of pediatric emergencies resulting from febrile convulsions in health facilities (Graneto, 2011; Karwowska, et al., 2002; Walsh, et al, 2007).
Febrile convulsion could be frightening to the parents and caregivers, thereby giving rise to parental anxiety and apprehension. This coupled with ignorance and beliefs are often responsible for the various forms of interventions administered to the convulsing children by their parents and other caregivers. Interventions such as cow’s urine concoction, onion leaves and palm oil have been reportedly administered to these children during convulsive episodes (Akpan et al, 2011). When parents witness their child’s convulsion, they are understandably shocked and many think that the child may die.
Correct and adequate knowledge of the relationship between fever and febrile convulsion, and its usual good prognosis are important for lessening the parental anxiety and apprehension associated with febrile convulsion. Many parents may even develop fever phobia and each febrile episode of the child can be a nightmare for the parents.
The best approach for febrile convulsion should include the establishment of good communication with parents and have to improve their responses to convulsions at home; it is of specific importance that the families are relieved of their fears and become capable of intervening optimally with the disease (Oche and Onankpa, 2013).
Many studies have investigated the aetiology and natural history or febrile seizures and evaluated various management strategies, but very little information is available about the knowledge, attitude, and practices of parents of children with febrile convulsion in Cameroon.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The misconception and poor knowledge on febrile convulsion could result in certain harmful home management of the condition. Mothers have been known to play a vital role in the care of children. Since children within the age of 0 and 5 years spend most of their daytime hours with their mothers, this implies that a convulsing child may likely be first attended to by the mother, thus adequate knowledge by the mothers is imperative.
The adequate knowledge, when imparted to the mother could be disseminated to the entire community. This study, therefore, sought to assess the knowledge, and practices of mothers towards febrile convulsion in the Buea Regional Hospital.
1.3 Research Questions
The following served as research questions for the study;
- What level of knowledge do mothers of children between the ages of 0 and 5 years have on febrile convulsions?
- What are their practices on the home management of febrile convulsion?
1.4 Research Objectives
1.4.1 Main Objective:
The main objective of the study was to determine the level of awareness of mothers on febrile convulsion in children between the ages of 0 and 5 years old at the Buea Regional Hospital
1.4.2 Specific Objectives
- To assess mothers’ knowledge on febrile convulsion.
- To identify their practices on the home management of febrile convulsion