Children & Adolescents Clinic

 Home Parent's Guide

Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0

Admission and Discharge Instructions


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 babies.

Diagnosis and the Blood Culture

The diagnosis of bacteremia is made from a blood test. This test requires 24 to 48 hours for results. For this reason, your child will be given a diagnosis of "rule-out" or "suspected" bacteremia at first. A more specific diagnosis cannot be made until the test results are back.

Reasons for Admission to the Hospital

Your child's diagnosis is ____________________________________________.

Main complication: _______________________________________________.

__ Needs IV fluids.

__ Needs IV antibiotic or other medication.

__ Needs oxygen.

__ Other reasons:_______________________________________________.

Expected Course

Your child should improve (have less fever and be more active) within 24 to 48 hours. Children who continue to be seriously ill will need to stay in the hospital for close observation and treatment.

Requirements for Discharge

  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________

Discharge Instructions for Home Care

  1. Antibiotics

    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.

    Your child also needs the following oral antibiotic:

    __________________________. Give ________ every ____ hours for ____ days.

  2. Fluids

    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.

  3. Fever Medicines

    For fever over 102ƒF (39ƒC), give acetaminophen every 4 hours or ibuprofen every 6 to 8 hours.

  4. Other Medicines
    • ______________________________________________________
    • ______________________________________________________
    • ______________________________________________________

  5. Additional Instructions




Follow-Up Appointment after Discharge

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 another exam, to have the blood test results checked, and possibly to receive further antibiotic treatment.

___ Your child needs to be rechecked and has an appointment on _____________ at _______ with _________________________.

___ Your child needs to be rechecked in ________ days. Call your child's doctor to make an appointment.

Call Your Child's Physician IMMEDIATELY If:

  • Your child starts to act very sick or is difficult to wake up.
  • Your child develops a stiff neck or swollen joints (these are serious complications of bacteremia).
  • Your child's fever comes back.
  • Your child vomits the antibiotic.
  • Your child develops a rash or difficulty breathing.

Call Your Child's Physician During Office Hours If:

  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by the Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, The Children's Hospital, Denver.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems