Bacteremia Symptoms

Bacteremia symptoms depend on the mode through which the pathogens invade the body. Know about the symptoms of this condition, and many other aspects of the same.
There are several kinds of medical conditions through which bacteria can invade the blood, causing a bacterial infection. And when it does, the condition is what we are discussing in this article - bacteremia. The presence of bacteria or any other kind of pathogen for that matter, in the blood is something that is considered abnormal. This is due to the fact that the fluid (blood) is ascribed as a sterile environment. The condition, as it has been found in most cases, seems to be prevalent among the very young, the elderly and those who are suffering from some underlying medical conditions thus, having a compromised immune system.

Common Signs and Symptoms that are Indicative of Bacteremia

The presence of bacteria in the blood may be manifested by early signs and symptoms like a high fever (generally over 38 °C), which has a sudden occurrence and without any apparent cause. The fever would be followed by chills, and the patient could feel his heartbeat going faster than normal. Breathing may get faster, and may be accompanied by a nauseous feeling or vomiting. The symptoms may worsen with time and the patient may not only appear sick but he may feel it, as well. Other symptoms which might accompany these, may include abdominal pain, unusual anxiety, diarrhea, and confusion.

The significance of all these bacteremia symptoms is the fact that they surface only when the condition has been triggered by something major. Because, it has been found in most cases that, when the condition is caused by a mild condition, there are usually no symptoms. So if you have the slightest of hint of any such symptoms, then it is wise to report your condition to a doctor.

What Causes it and How is it Treated?

The factor which causes bacteremia is anything that gives access to the bacteria, normally found on the skin, to make it to the bloodstream. So one of the most common of these factors is the use of catheters or permanent IV line. Apart from these, the other causes include certain medical conditions:
  • Dental tooth brushing
  • Herpes infection
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) (more cases in women)
  • Certain cancer
  • Certain types of surgical procedures
Speaking of the treatment, the condition is diagnosed after an analysis of the blood culture. In the test, the blood sample is put under incubation with a medium that promotes the growth of pathogens such as bacteria. Around 24 - 48 hours is required by doctors to show the test results. If any bacteria is present in the blood, it would multiply and hence, get detected. So once the diagnosis confirms the development of bacteremia in the person, doctors proceed with the treatment. Since the pathogen is bacteria, the first line of treatment is usually antibiotics. These drugs not only help in preventing the condition, but treat it as well. This is the reason why, antibiotics are administered before procedures like dental procedures, surgical treatment and use of bladder catheters, as these may run the risk of causing bacteremia.

The importance of knowing about the main symptoms of bacteremia is that treatment can be started at the earliest. This is one of those conditions for which, the sooner the treatment begins, the brighter are the chances of a complete recovery, without any complication. It's a must to know that, bacteremia is a condition which if ignored or left untreated, can give rise to fatal situations for the sufferer.
By Rajib Singha
Published: 12/20/2010
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