Tepid sponge baths distress febrile children, and their efficacy at reducing fever has not been established. This study compared fever reduction and with (1) acetaminophen alone and (2) acetaminophen plus a 15-minute tepid sponge bath. Twenty children, ages 5 to 68 months, who presented to the emergency department or urgent care center with fever of ≥38.9°C were randomized to receive (1) acetaminophen alone or (2) acetaminophen plus a 15-minute tepid sponge bath. All subjects received a 15-mg/kg dose of acetaminophen. Tympanic temperature was monitored every 30 minutes for 2 hours. Subjects were monitored for signs of discomfort (crying, shivering, goosebumps). Sponge-bathed subjects cooled faster during the first hour, but there was no significant temperature difference between the groups over the 2-hour study period ( P = .871). Subjects in the sponge bath group had significantly higher discomfort scores ( P = .009).
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 1997
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