What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition where the body reacts to an infection in an extreme manner. It occurs when an existing infection in your body leads to a chain reaction that affects all the major organs. The infection may start anywhere, although the most common sites often include the kidney, lungs or the gastrointestinal tract.

If you do not seek timely medical assistance for sepsis, it can lead to extensive tissue damage, failure of the major organs in the body, or even death. To be aware of the symptoms of sepsis, its dangers and the ways to prevent it, you can read this article.

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Sepsis is a result of the extreme response of the body towards an infection. An individual is diagnosed with sepsis infection if an infection you already had has triggered a chain reaction all over your body. If sepsis treatment is not done on time then sepsis might swiftly result in damaging the tissues, failure of an organ and death as well. Sepsis might lead to a state of sepsis shock.

This dramatic drop in blood pressure might lead to death or any problems with organs. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are at least 1.5 million issues of sepsis every year. 

What are sepsis symptoms?

We tend to ignore the signs believing it to be insignificant. However, in a serious case of sepsis, it can lead to one's demise. Once you feel like you're showing any of the sepsis symptoms, immediately visit your nearby hospital for a consultation. An individual with sepsis infection shows the following sepsis symptoms:

  • An individual either has low blood pressure or his/her heart rate becomes high
  • Getting disoriented or confused
  • Feeling uncomfortable or suffering too much from pain
  • Having a fever, feeling too cold, or shivering
  • Having problems with breathing is again, one of the most prominent sepsis symptoms
  • Having sweaty or sticky skin


What are the causes of sepsis infection?

When germs penetrate an individual's body, those germs result in infection. If sepsis treatment is not done then it might lead to sepsis. Sepsis infection can be very dangerous which is why it is necessary to get immediate treatment.

Below is the list of infections that cause sepsis. Most common outcome in sepsis covers infection of:

  • Lungs (such as pneumonia)
  • Digestive system
  • In many parts of the urinary system, kidney and bladder
  • Catheter sites
  • Bloodstream (bacterial)
  • On burns or wounded places

What are the possibilities of getting infected from sepsis in adults?

Since one's immune system debilitates as the person ages, seniors are at more risk of sepsis. In a study of Trusted Source of 2006, people above 65 years of age, nearly formed 70% of cases of sepsis.

In senior citizens the common infections that cause sepsis are genitourinary in which infection is caused in the urinary tract or respiratory such as pneumonia while other kinds of infection come with infected skin because of skin tearing or pressure sores.

What are the dangers of getting infected from sepsis for newborn babies?

 A newborn baby gets infected with neonatal sepsis when a baby gets blood infected in it's starting days of life (first month). Neonatal sepsis can lead to death, but with quick treatment and diagnosis, the baby can recover soon without any problem.

Neonatal sepsis is of two kinds which are categorized based on the time in which the baby is infected, before birth or after birth. In babies, symptoms are nonspecific and subtle. Some of them are:

  • Listless
  • Body temperature low
  • Fever
  • Apnea (stopping of breathing temporarily)
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Jaundice
  • Jitteriness
  • Seizures

Is sepsis a contagious disease?

Many people wonder how and when sepsis gets transmitted from one person to another or if it is a contagious disease. Sepsis is not considered as a contagious infection, i.e, it won't spread to any other individual. Important points to note:

  • Pathogens that result in the actual infection which leads to the infection of sepsis could be contagious.
  • It spreads throughout the body of an individual from the actual origin of infection to various other organs by the bloodstream.
  • On the other hand, it is also said that sepsis can be the outcome of some infectious disease that is spread to others. Bacterial infections are the cause of most sepsis infection
  • More often, sepsis occurs in an individual who is hospitalised. Especially the one who is admitted to an intensive care unit has a greater chance to get infected which might lead to sepsis.

What is the process of diagnosing sepsis?

If an individual is showing signs of sepsis then he/she should follow the guidelines suggested by the doctor. Doctors often suggest some mandatory blood tests, keeping in mind the severity of the infection. Those tests are done to check the following things:

  • Infection
  • Decreased amount of oxygen
  • Clotting issues
  • Dysfunction in liver or kidney

What is the process of sepsis treatment?

With proper treatment, sepsis is curable. However, a sepsis infection must not be taken lightly as it can cause serious damage to our body, or, in the worst case, lead to death. Considering the seriousness of the infection, sepsis can be categorized into two parts, simple infection and a complicated infection. Symptoms and treatment of both the type of sepsis infection are:

1. Simple infection-

This type of sepsis infection gets easily cured. Various medications are used to treat a simple sepsis infection, including: 

  1. Antibiotics
  2. For a quick rise in blood pressure, vasoactive medications are provided
  3. For stabilization of blood, sugar insulin is provided
  4. For reduction of inflammation, corticosteroids are given

2. Complicated infection -

A complicated infection can be quite dangerous and harmful to the body. Chances are that certain organs might start to fail, and one might go through sepsis shock. From mild sepsis, an individual might recover, however, the rate of mortality for sepsis shock is up to 40%. If not treated on time sepsis can swiftly lead to sepsis shock and then death. Treatments for a complicated infection include the following:

  1. In severe cases for breathing, one might also need lV fluids in larger amounts
  2. In case the kidneys are not working dialysis might also be needed
  3. In some of the situations, one might also need to pass through surgery for removal of the origin of infection.

How to prevent sepsis?

By keeping the seriousness of the infection in mind, it is always good to be aware of your health. In case you show any of the above-mentioned symptoms of a sepsis infection, get it consulted with a doctor and treat it immediately. To reduce the risk of being diagnosed with sepsis, the following remedies are important:

  • Getting vaccinated for pneumonia, flu and any other infections on time.
  • Maintaining proper hygiene like taking accurate wound care, regular bathing and washing hands.
  • If encountered any symptoms of infection immediate care is important. The faster the treatment you get the faster is your recovery rate.

Conclusion

It is necessary to keep in mind that sepsis is a state of a medical emergency which might even cause permanent damage to organs if not treated timely. Every second and minute is counted, specifically when the infection is spreading rapidly.

With any suspecting signs, you must get medical attention immediately. As per the study which is published in the Sepsis Alliance, around 50% of survivors go through PSS or post-sepsis syndrome.

During a medical emergency like sepsis or any other disease, it is always helpful and wise to be prepared and be equipped with health insurance. Make sure you get yourself and your family insured adequately.

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