We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Bacteremia?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Bacteremia is bacterial infection of the blood, though this not the same as blood poisoning or sepsis. It can be called a precursor to sepsis, if symptoms like widespread inflammation develop too, but many times bacteremia, if observed, can be treated long before sepsis occurs. Bacteria in the blood stream may occur under many circumstances but it appears most commonly in the very young, very old, or those who are medically vulnerable, especially from impaired immune systems due to illness, recent transplant or chemotherapy. Alternately when people have things like catheters or permanent IV lines, they could be more at risk.

Early symptoms of bacteremia include chills and a fever that generally is at least 101 degrees F (38.33 degrees C). Fever can certainly rise, but in some people, especially children, this is the only symptom. Other people do have additional symptoms that include fast breathing, rapid heart rate, or symptoms of additional illnesses like pneumonia or meningitis. Diagnosis of the illness is confirmed by culturing blood from a blood test to look for bacterial growth. When this is present, bacteremia is assumed and treatment must begin immediately.

As would be suspected, the main treatment for bacteremia is antibiotics to kill the infection in the blood. Depending on illness and degree of likelihood that sepsis could develop, doctors may choose to infuse this medicine intravenously, to give shots of medicine or to give people oral antibiotics. If sepsis is likely, intravenous infusion of medicine could be the first choice. Others may not require such a severe course, but caretakers might be told to watch for symptoms of worsening condition, such as higher fever, delirium, progressive weakness, changes in skin coloration, or inability to move neck or jaw.

About 60-80% of people with blood infection respond well to treatment and make full recoveries. Mode of infection may need to be addressed. For instance, someone with a stable catheter might need that catheter to be changed more frequently or could be instructed on more sterile approaches to changes to reduce likelihood of infection. It would be unfair to say that bacteremia is usually the fault of the person affected. In many cases improper management in hospitals or long term care facilities is most indicated in blood infection.

Sometimes, despite treatment, people do progress to true sepsis, and this condition risks life since it causes inflammation in response to infection. Treatment is still antibiotics and almost always intravenously infused. Occasionally, administration of several antibiotics might be required to stop the growth of bacteria and the inflammatory response that can begin to cause organ damage. For most people with bacteremia, this secondary illness won’t occur.

People can watch for signs of bacteremia, and should do so if they have any permanent medical devices installed, are at risk due to poor immune system, have recently suffered open wounds or cuts, undergone surgery, or been hospitalized. As stated, the principal symptom of the condition is fever. Folks should not hesitate to contact doctors if high fever has occurred and they meet one of these additional risk factors.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.