Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
When bacteria are growing in your child's bloodstream, the
condition is called bacteremia. Bacteremia causes a fever
but no other specific symptoms. This illness usually occurs
in children less than 3 years old. It is most common in
The diagnosis of bacteremia is made from a blood test. This
test requires 24 to 48 hours to show the presence of
bacteria in the bloodstream. For this reason, your child
will be given a diagnosis of "rule-out," or "suspected,"
bacteremia. A more specific diagnosis cannot be made until
the test results are back.
If your child is not seriously ill, he or she will be sent
home. Your child will be treated and possibly prescribed
medication before going home. Children who appear to be
seriously ill will need to stay in the hospital for close
observation and treatment.
Bacterial infections can be treated effectively with
antibiotics. All children suspected of having
bacteremia are treated with antibiotics.
Your child will receive a shot or intravenous (IV) dose
of an antibiotic called ceftriaxone.
The doctor may also prescribe your child an oral
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.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
For fever over 102 degrees F (38.5 degrees C), give
acetaminophen every 4 hours or ibuprofen every 6 to 8
Your child should improve (have less fever and be more
active) within 24 to 48 hours. Children who go home with a
diagnosis of "rule-out" or "suspected" bacteremia require a
follow-up appointment with a physician within 24 hours.
Your child must be seen again for a repeat physical exam, to
have the blood test results checked, and possibly to receive
further antibiotic treatment.
Call Your Child's Physician IMMEDIATELY If:
- Your child starts to act very sick or is difficult to
- Your child develops a stiff neck or swollen joints (these
are serious complications of bacteremia).
- Your child is unable to drink or keep down fluids.
- Your child develops a rash or difficulty breathing.
Call Your Child's Physician During Office Hours If:
- You have other questions or concerns.