How We Can Help
Bacterial Infections Treatment Information
IU Health Infectious Diseases physicians use a variety of diagnostic tools and treatments to help you overcome bacterial infections.
- Blood cultures. For a blood culture test, physicians draw a small amount of blood. We study the blood sample under a microscope to identify the presence of bacteria or fungi. We may perform more tests to form a diagnosis and treatment plan to fit your specific infection.
- Sputum cultures. For bacterial infections of the lungs, our physicians take a sample of your mucus from your mouth or throat. We study the mucus to look for bacterial, viral or fungal cells so we can determine what type of treatment will work best for you. We may do more testing after the culture to create a treatment plan more specific to your needs.
- Wound culture. If you have a wound that appears infected, our physicians take a small sample of the tissue around the wound. They will then study the tissue under microscopes in the lab to look for bacteria. Cultures are the first phase in diagnosing what type of infection you have and creating a treatment plan.
- Gram stain. For a gram stain, our physicians take a sample from the location of the infection and dye it. Different bacteria soak up the dye differently, making their structures more visible. We can then study the structure of the bacteria to better identify what type of bacteria is present and develop a treatment plan specific to that type of bacteria. Gram stains only work for bacteria and some fungi.
- Susceptibility testing. After taking a sample of the infected area of your body, our physicians will separate the bacteria away from your cells in a lab. They will then treat the bacteria with different types of antibiotics to see which drug is most effective in killing the bacteria. This testing ensures you receive fewer antibiotics and can heal more quickly.
- Antibody testing. Our physicians examine small blood samples for the presence of antibodies, which are immune cells that fight off infection in the body. Each antibody looks different according to what infection it is fighting off. By identifying which antibodies are present in your blood, we can determine what type of bacteria you have and offer treatments that are better targeted for your specific condition.
- Antibiotics. Our physicians are experts in knowing how to properly use antibiotics to help you manage the side effects of bacterial infections. In the case of serious bacterial infections, you may have to receive antibiotics intravenously (through an IV), meaning a needle will be placed into your arm to allow a continuous flow of antibiotics into your blood. For your convenience, we offer outpatient IV antibiotic treatments so you do not have to stay in the hospital throughout your treatment and can heal at home. This option may not be available for all patients, depending on the severity of your infection.
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Bacterial Infections Support Services
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A Sampling of Bacterial Infections Support Services
This website hosts a variety of links to expert articles on various bacterial infections and their treatments.