Fever of Unknown Origin Treatment

  • Treatment

    FUO requires medical attention. See your doctor if you have a fever that persists for three weeks or longer, as this can be the sign of a potentially serious underlying medical condition.

    FUO may require long-term care. Diagnosing FUO may be difficult, and may take a significant amount of time. Long-term care and repeat outpatient visits and/or hospital stays may be required to determine the underlying cause of FUO.

    Until the cause of a FUO is known, care may consist only of fever-reducing medications. While test results are pending, and unless there are other symptoms that require medical treatment, fever reducers such as acetaminophen or aspirin will be used to control the fever.

    Children under 15 years of age should not be given aspirin. Reye’s syndrome is a potentially fatal illness that can occur in children who take aspirin to alleviate fever and other flulike symptoms. Medical advice should be sought regarding how to treat children with fever. In general, acetaminophen is an appropriate and safe substitute for aspirin.

    Drink plenty of fluids, stay in bed, and use fever-reducing medications.

    Sponging or bathing in tepid water may help to reduce high fevers.

    Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.

    Depending on what is causing the FUO, you may need other types of treatment. For example, if your FUO is caused by cancer, you will need cancer treatment.

    Surgery will depend on the underlying medical condition causing the FUO. For example, if you have endocarditis, or infection of one or more of your heart valves, you may need surgery to repair the affected valves.

    Alternative medicine will depend on the underlying medical condition causing the FUO.

    FUO in the elderly or in people who are immunocompromised requires special attention. The elderly and people who are immunocompromised (including those with low white blood cell counts, HIV, or both) should be hospitalized if they experience FUO and show signs of delirium, severe debilitation, or rapid weight loss. These peoples’ weakened immune systems make them more susceptible to rapid disease progression.

    Hospitalized patients may be at risk for FUO. Patients who are hospitalized may develop a specific type of FUO called nosocomial FUO. Nosocomial FUO, by definition, is a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher that is acquired in the hospital when no previous infection was noted upon admission.

    Prognosis will depend on the underlying condition. Since a variety of conditions can cause FUO, prognosis will depend upon the severity of the condition, the speed with which it can be diagnosed and therapy begun, and the potential effectiveness of therapy.

    Patients for whom an underlying cause of FUO cannot be determined after six months will generally recover with no lingering medical problems.

    Until a cause can be identified, continued medical follow-up is critical. Repeat medical visits, either as an outpatient or as an inpatient, will be necessary to determine the underlying cause of FUO. Continued diagnostic testing will most likely be necessary to rule out all suspected causes.

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