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Blood poisoning: When to see a doctorBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-poisoning/AN00716
- With Mayo Clinic internist
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.James Steckelberg, M.D.
Dr. James Steckelberg is a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
A native of Fremont, Neb., Dr. Steckelberg was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine as a resident in internal medicine and a fellow in infectious diseases, and is board certified in both. He is the former director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Steckelberg belongs to numerous professional organizations. He is a founding member of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has served on many Mayo Clinic committees and is a member of the Department of Medicine Leadership Committee and of the executive committee of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He also served on the editorial boards of "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" and "Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy" and has been an editorial reviewer for more than a dozen publications.
Dr. Steckelberg's research interests include experimental models of infection, epidemiology of infection, and antimicrobial resistance and therapy of bacterial infections.
Blood poisoning: When to see a doctor
I suspect I have blood poisoning. Should I see my doctor?
from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.
"Blood poisoning" is not a medical term. But as the term is usually used, it refers to the presence of bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) — and not a poisonous substance in the blood. However, bacteremia is a serious illness and requires prompt medical attention.
When to see a doctor
If you recently had a medical or dental procedure or injection and have any of the following signs and symptoms, see your doctor right away:
- Sudden, high fever
- Rapid heart rate
- Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain
- A feeling or appearance of serious illness
A diagnosis of bacteremia is usually confirmed by a blood culture. Treatment requires hospitalization and includes intravenous antibiotics. Without prompt treatment, bacteremia can quickly progress to severe sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition.
- Schwartz BS. Bacterial & chlamydial infections. In: McFee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=18218. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- Reller LB, et al. Blood cultures for the detection of bacteremia. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 23, 2012.