Understanding Treatment
for Bacteremia

What is bacteremia?

All of us have bacteria in our bodies that are present in very small numbers and are rapidly removed from the bloodstream by our immune systems. However, if it’s present long enough and in large enough quantities — particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems — bacteremia, or the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream, can occur. Even the most ordinary activities such as brushing your teeth, having dental or medical procedures, or infections such as pneumonia or a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) can cause bacteremia. It can also occur if you have an artificial joint or heart valve, or if you’ve been diagnosed with heart valve abnormalities. In severe cases, bacteremia can lead to other infections and sometimes trigger a severe body-wide response called sepsis. If you’re at high risk of developing bacteremia, you’ll receive antibiotics before certain dental and medical procedures to assist in prevention.

What are the symptoms of bacteremia?

Because bacteremia most often occurs from everyday events, it’s usually temporary and doesn’t cause any symptoms. However, if bacteremia results from another more serious condition that causes the bacteria to accumulate in tissues or organs, it can cause a severe infection that leads to a fever, rapid heart rate, shaking chills, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and in rare cases, confusion. However, these symptoms are usually indicators of a more severe condition, such as sepsis or septic shock.

How does ID Care diagnose bacteremia?

Diagnosing bacteremia at ID Care involves laboratory studies to examine white blood cell counts, urine cultures, stool studies, or blood cultures.

How does ID Care treat bacteremia?

Our bacteria specialists at ID Care treat bacteremia in a variety of ways, depending on the severity of your condition. Typically, we will prescribe antibiotics that work best for both your overall well-being and are most effective in eliminating bacteria.