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What Is the Connection between Bacteremia and Pneumonia?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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The primary connection between bacteremia and pneumonia is the fact that pneumonia is a major cause of bacteremia. This is especially true in elderly patients and in young infants, who are especially susceptible to both conditions. Treatment usually involves high doses of antibiotics. Complications such as this are a prime reason why those with pneumonia-related symptoms should be investigated by a doctor.

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection which is caused by either bacteria or viruses which set up inside the lung tissues. It often occurs as the result of another primary infection, although this isn't always the case. Bacteremia and pneumonia are linked because if pneumonia gets out of hand, it can lead to a more serious infection of the blood, also known as bacteremia. When this occurs, the situation becomes very serious. Intravenous antibiotics are typically needed to increase a patient's chance of survival once a blood infection takes hold.

Bacteremia and pneumonia only occur together when the lung infection is caused by bacteria. Viral infections may also spread, but this is another condition. Bacteremia usually does not take place unless the infection of the lungs grows out of control. This can be prevented with proper medical care as soon as symptoms of infection begin to take place. Those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and very young children are most at risk for developing secondary blood infections due to pneumonia.

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Symptoms of pneumonia often start as a severe cough that is accompanied by mucus. If the infection grows more severe, patients may also have trouble breathing, experience a rustling in the chest, and sometimes cough up blood-tinged mucus or saliva. In the earliest stages, it can be hard to determine the difference between pneumonia and other less severe respiratory conditions. For this reason, any cough that is accompanied by chest pain or mucus, or which lasts for more than a few days, should be examined by a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment of bacteremia and pneumonia usually involves the use of powerful antibiotic medications. They are usually delivered intravenously, and are sometimes administered over the course of several days, or even weeks. In some cases, more than one type may be used. This is especially true for drug resistant strains of bacteria which may become immune to certain medications over time. Bacteremia and pneumonia can both be fatal if not caught and treated early.

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