What is sepsis and how do you get it?
Sepsis occurs as a result of a severe infection that has spread to a person's blood stream. A person becomes "septic" when his or her immune response to the infection triggers widespread inflammation. In a severe case of sepsis, the patient's blood pressure can drop to life-threatening levels, often damaging major organs, such as the kidneys and liver. Understanding the signs and symptoms of sepsis is the key to early diagnosis.
Common Causes of Sepsis
The cause of sepsis is a bacterial infection in one area of the body that gets worse over time and eventually spreads to the person's blood. Many infections stem from preventable hospital acquired infections. Some of the most common causes of sepsis are:
- Infection due to bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Infection due to IV lines
- Infection due to untreated urinary tract infection
- Infection from meningitis
- Infection from appendicitis
- Infection from surgical site
Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis
The symptoms of sepsis can vary depending on the nature of the initial bacterial infection. Some common symptoms can include:
- Rapid pulse
- Decreased urination.
Quickly diagnosing sepsis is the key to treating it. Misdiagnosing sepsis will delay treatment and lessen a person's chance for survival. Once sepsis has been diagnosed, treatment options typically include broad spectrum antibiotics, IV fluids, and oxygen.
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