A human body’s response in an extreme manner to infection is called sepsis. This is a medical emergency that is life-threatening. Sepsis happens when an infection that you already have in the lungs or skin or the urinary tract triggers a chain reaction throughout the whole body. This needs timely treatment or else sepsis organ failure, tissue damage, and death.
Sepsis is not contagious but is a complication of a contagious infection. Most sepsis is due to bacterial infections but there is a possibility of this occurring due to other infections like viral infections including influenza and COVID-19.
Symptoms of Sepsis:
Sepsis has three stages, sepsis, severe sepsis, and also septic shock. This can happen while you are in the hospital recovering from a procedure but it is not the case always.
If you have any of the symptoms listed below it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The chances of survival depend on how soon you seek the treatment.
- A heart rate that is higher than 90 beats per minute
- Confirmed or probable infection
- A fever that is more than 101 degrees or probably a temperature that is below 96.8 degrees.
- A breathing rate is more than 20 breaths in a minute.
A doctor can diagnose sepsis when you have a minimum of 2 symptoms listed above.
When there is organ failure severe sepsis occurs. To be diagnosed with severe sepsis it is important to have one or more of the symptoms listed below.
- Changes in mental ability
- Decreased in urination
- Patches of discolored skin
- Abnormal heart functions
- Chills due to falling in the temperature of your body
- Breathing problems
- Low platelet
- Extreme weakness
Symptoms of septic shock are similar to the symptoms of severe sepsis along with extremely low blood pressure.
Effects of Sepsis:
As mentioned, sepsis is definitely life-threatening but this also depends on the severity. Septic shock has a fatality rate of almost 50 percent but in mild cases, the rate of recovery is higher.
Severe sepsis tends to increase the risk of infections in the future. Septic shock or even severe sepsis can lead to multiple complications. There is a possibility of small blood clots forming in your body. These block the flow of blood and also oxygen to the vital organs. This can lead to tissue death (gangrene) or organ failure.
Who is at Risk?
There are some people who are at a higher risk of sepsis. The people who are at risk are seniors, young children, those with a weak immune system, those being treated in the ICU (intensive care unit), and those who are exposed to invasive devices like breathing tubes or catheters.
The treatment of sepsis is using antibiotics via IV to fight the infection, insulin for stabilizing the blood sugar, corticosteroids for bringing down the inflammation, painkillers, and vasoactive medications to increase the blood pressure.
Recovery from this sepsis depends on any underlying condition that you are suffering from and also the severity of the sepsis.