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Fever in Adults (cont.)

What Is the Treatment for Fever in Adults?

The treatment of a fever (or how to break the fever) depends on its cause. In most cases, except in hyperthermia, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given to lower the temperature (see home remedies above). Fluids may be given by mouth or IV to prevent dehydration, if necessary.

  • Viral illnesses usually resolve without medical treatment. However, medications to help with specific symptoms can be given. These may include medications to lower fever, help with congestion, soothe a sore throat, or control a runny nose. Viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea may require IV fluids and medications to slow down the diarrhea and stop nausea. A few viral illnesses can be treated with antiviral medications. Herpes and the influenza virus are examples.
  • Bacterial illnesses require a specific antibiotic that depends on the type of bacteria found or where it is located in the body. The physician will determine whether the person is admitted to the hospital or sent home. This decision is based on the illness and the person's overall health status.
  • Most fungal infections can be treated with an antifungal medication.
  • Drug-induced fever is eliminated when the medication is stopped.
  • A blood clot requires admission to the hospital and blood-thinner medications.
  • Any person with an illness that inhibits the immune system will be evaluated closely and usually admitted to the hospital.
  • Environmental heat exposure requires aggressive cooling in the emergency department. The person's clothes will be removed, a cooling fan and cool mist will be used, and his or her vital signs will be monitored closely. Hyperthermic people will be admitted to the hospital.

Thyroid storm is treated by blocking hormone production with drugs like methimazole (Northyx, Tapazole) and iodine to block hormone release plus propranolol (Inderal) to further block the effects of thyroid hormones.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2017

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Fever of Unknown Origin »

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.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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