Fever in Adults (cont.)
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Prognosis of Fever in Adults
In most cases, a fever will come and go without much intervention from a doctor. If a specific cause for fever is found, then the doctor can prescribe the appropriate medication and treat the illness. Occasionally, a second antibiotic, an antifungal medication, or other drug will be needed. Usually, with the appropriate therapy an infection will resolve and the person will return to a normal temperature.
In some cases, a fever can be life threatening. This is often seen in people with poor immune systems, certain types of meningitis, and severe abdominal pain. Pneumonia with fever can be life threatening in an older person. Any infection in which the source is not found can continue to get worse and become very dangerous. Severe hyperthermia can cause a coma, brain damage, or even death. Usually, if the cause of the fever is diagnosed quickly and treated appropriately, the prognosis is good, but the prognosis is poorer if there are diagnostic and treatment delays and organs become progressively damaged.
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Fever of unknown origin (FUO) was defined in 1961 by Petersdorf and Beeson as the following: (1) a temperature greater than 38.3°C (101°F) on several occasions, (2) more than 3 weeks' duration of illness, and (3) failure to reach a diagnosis despite one week of inpatient investigation.