Much Ado about Bloodstream Infections

Bloodstream infection is something that can happen when you are in the hospital. In short, it is one of the possible hospital acquired infections (HAI) that you can get when admitted as a patient in a medical institution. I’m not saying you can get it every time you are admitted in the hospital. It is just a complication that can arise, but one that can be prevented.

Bloodstream infection usually occurs when bacteria invades your blood through a wound or a prior infection you had. It can also enter your bloodstream through a surgical procedure or when you get an injection. If infection is minimal, it’s possible for the bacteria not to cause any symptoms and resolve by itself even without treatment. However, if infection is moderate or more serious, then expect a fever as well as other signs of infection. In the worst cases of bloodstream infection, people can experience septic shock, a condition that is potentially life-threatening.

What to Watch Out For?

Fever is a common symptom to many illnesses. However, when your temperature is over 101 °F (38.3 °C), it’s possible that you may have infection. Chills and severe shaking may also be observed. Nausea characterized by confusion or perhaps disorientation and agitation may be exhibited by the patient. There will also be a decrease in urination. Other symptoms that may be manifested by the person infected include abdominal pain, diarrhea, anxiety, and malaise. Individuals who have bloodstream infection may also experience pains in different parts of the body like the joints of their wrists or perhaps their back as well as hips, knees or ankles.

Who is at Risk?

Any person can get bloodstream infection, but for some people, the risk of acquiring it is higher. Age is a factor with the very young and very old more vulnerable to acquiring this kind of infection. Those who are either taking immunosuppressive medication or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation also have a higher risk since their immune systems have been compromised by the drugs they are taking. People who are diabetic or have either AIDS or cirrhosis are also more vulnerable.

How to Treat?

Should you ever be diagnosed of a bloodstream infection, prompt antibiotic therapy can help minimize the risks of the infection spreading throughout the body. Medical professionals who operate on you must strive to lessen the number as well as the duration of whatever invasive procedures needed. This will help in reducing your exposure to various sources of bacteria while undergoing treatment.

The Best Prevention?

The best way to avoid bloodstream infection–and any other type of infection–is still through prevention. Always try to observe good personal hygiene particularly when you have a viral illness. Doing so will reduce your risk of getting or developing bacterial infection. Make sure that the hospital staff caring for you is also observing proper hygiene. Sometimes, they can get a little careless–perhaps due to fatigue–and make that one little mistake that could cause you your life. So be vigilant and keep an eye out on the people caring for you.

Another way that you can help prevent bloodstream infection is through the use of a needleless connector that has disinfecting caps, which will kill bacteria or other infection-causing organisms before they can reach the bloodstream.

About the author

Based in San Diego California, Tiffany Matthews is a professional writer with over 5 years of writing experience. She also blogs about travel, fashion, and anything under the sun at wordbaristas.com, a group blog that she shares with her good friends. In her free time, she likes to travel, read books, and watch movies. You can find her on Twitter as @TiffyCat87.