Sepsis is a medical condition that is caused when the body experiences a response to germs and bacteria in a severe or exaggerated way. The response is also referred to as systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). You will notice that the side effects and symptoms of sepsis are actually caused by the chemicals released from the body rather than the germs or bacteria itself.

Causes of Sepsis

Sepsis can be caused by a bacterial infection located anywhere in the body. Some of the more common places where this infection might start and cause sepsis, include the bloodstream, bones, bowels, kidneys, lining of the brain, liver, gallbladder, lungs, or skin. Patients who are in the hospital are at a higher risk of developing sepsis due to an infection from the surgical wound, intravenous line, surgical drain, or sites of skin breakdown which causes bedsores.

Symptoms of Sepsis

The signs and symptoms of sepsis can come on suddenly after the blood pressure drops and results in shock. During shock, your body’s systems and major organs stop working as they should, which include your kidneys, liver, central nervous system, and lungs. Some of the more common symptoms of sepsis include the child, fever, rapid heartbeat, confusion, delirium, dizziness, shaking, skin rash, warm skin, and sometimes bruising of the skin.

Diagnosing Sepsis

Someone with sepsis is easy to diagnose because they not only feel ill very quickly, but a doctor can see how sick they are physically. A blood test is usually the only test performed as it can often show the infection. However, someone who was on antibiotics for a previous infection might not show sepsis with a simple blood test so additional tests might need to be performed. This includes a blood differential test, blood gases test, kidney function test, platelet count, or a white blood cell count.

Treating Sepsis

The first course of treatment following a firm diagnosis of sepsis is to admit you to the hospital. You will be in the intensive care unit and given a round of antibiotics through an IV. The same IV will get oxygen, fluids, medications to increase your blood pressure, and dialysis if you’re experiencing kidney failure. With lung failure, you might be hooked up to a breathing machine, called a mechanical ventilation machine. Sepsis can be life threatening without proper treatment, but if you get admitted fast enough, the treatments can help reduce the danger of this condition.

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