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Sepsis is a serious reaction to an infection. It causes inflammation across large areas of the body and can damage tissue and organs. Sepsis requires immediate care in a hospital. Septic shock is sepsis that causes extremely low blood pressure, which limits blood flow to the body. It can cause death.
Most of the time, sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection.
Infections that can lead to sepsis include:
Sepsis can occur in people of any age. But it is more common in infants, older adults, and people who have a compromised immune system that cannot fight infection. Sepsis can develop very quickly.
Sepsis causes varied symptoms. Symptoms may include breathing problems, a fast heartbeat, chills, cool clammy skin, skin rashes, and shaking. Other symptoms may include a fever or low body temperature, confusion, and low blood pressure. If you are concerned about sepsis, go to the hospital immediately.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do tests, including blood tests. You may get an imaging test, such as an X-ray or CT scan, to help find the infection.
Doctors will treat sepsis with medicine to treat infection. They will try to find the infection that led to sepsis.
Machines will track vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pulse rate. You'll get fluids through an I.V. You may also get strong medicine. This can help raise your blood pressure.
You might need to be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) for several days or weeks. An ICU is a part of the hospital where very sick people get care.
Equipment in the ICU can support your body. That includes your breathing, circulation, fluids, and help for organs like the kidneys and heart. If you need help breathing, a ventilator may be used.
Here are some ways to help prevent infections that could lead to sepsis:
Current as of:
June 13, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: June 13, 2023
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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