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What is bacteremia?

When bacteria are in your child's bloodstream it’s called bacteremia. This illness usually occurs in children 3 months to 3 years of age.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom is fever.

How is it diagnosed?

Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. Your provider will examine your child. Your child will have blood tests to check for bacteria.

How is it treated?

Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may be given by mouth, by a shot, or by vein (IV).

If your child is seriously ill or there is concern that the bacteria has spread to another part of the body, your child will need to stay in the hospital for treatment.

How can I take care of my child?

Fever increases your child's fluid needs. Encourage your child to drink lots of fluids, even though he or she may not want to drink because of feeling ill.

For fever, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen according to your child’s healthcare provider’s recommendations. This will make your child more comfortable.

Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your child’s test results
  • How long it will take for your child to recover
  • What activities your child should avoid and when your child can return to normal activities
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent bacteremia?

Keep your child’s shots up to date. Shots routinely given during childhood can protect children against many of the types of bacteria that can cause bacteremia.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-06-29
Last reviewed: 2012-06-11
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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