Sepsis: A high-risk bacterial infection Sepsis: A high-risk bacterial infection

Sepsis occurs when the body has an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection.

According to the webpage MedlinePlus, this is a serious illness that occurs when chemical substances released in the blood to fight an infection trigger widespread inflammation, causing blood clots to develop and leaky blood vessels. This leads to poor blood flow, which deprives the body’s organs of nutrients and oxygen. In serious cases, one or more organs can fail. In the worst of cases, blood pressure lowers and the heart weakens, leading to septic shock.

Anyone can get sepsis, but the risk is greater in people with weakened immune systems, babies and children, the elderly, individuals with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, AIDS, cancer and kidney or liver disease) and among those who have a severe burn or are undergoing physical trauma.

Common symptoms of sepsis include fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, rash, confusion and disorientation. Doctors diagnose this condition with blood tests to see if the white blood cell count is abnormal. Lab tests are also performed to check for signs of infection.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, explains that patients with this condition are often treated in intensive care units so that specialists can try to treat the infection, sustain the vital organs and prevent blood pressure from dropping. Most patients are administered oxygen and receive IV fluids. Other types of treatment may be necessary, such as respirators or kidney dialysis. Sometimes, surgery is needed to eliminate the infection.

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