What exactly is sepsis?

By November 13, 2017Infections

Sepsis sounds dangerous – and it is 거만어 다운로드. It’s another word for blood poisoning, when our bodies react to a severe infection. We look at this condition, its symptoms and how to treat it.

What is sepsis?

Not all cuts, scrapes or minor infections need medical attention. But sometimes, a seemingly small infection can be deadly when it spreads to the blood and organs. When your blood reaches a certain level of infection, doctors refer to this as sepsis.

Sepsis is also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning. This doesn’t mean you were poisoned – rather, it’s a serious reaction to any form of infection. It means that there’s an infection in your bloodstream which can spread through the entire body. When left untreated, sepsis can lead to death. You need an early diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible!

What are the causes?

Sepsis can be brought on by an existing infection in any part of the body, in an organ, or your skin. It happens in three stages and the onset can be quick:

  • It begins when an infection enters your bloodstream.
  • The infection spreads to your vital organs: the heart, brain and kidneys.
  • Septic shock happens when your blood pressure drops so low that your organs shut down. This can be fatal.

Who gets sepsis?

Everyone is vulnerable to sepsis or septic shock, but it’s more likely in older people with a weakened immune system, or people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes or cancer.

Men are more likely than women to suffer from sepsis. Lifestyle factors like smoking and drinking can increase your risk. If you’re in hospital, especially intensive care, where your immune system is already weakened, sepsis is an added risk. This is because hospitals aren’t always as sterile as we think and it’s easy to pick up an infection. Bacteria doesn’t always respond to antibiotics either, and this can cause an infection to worsen and spread to the blood.

 Symptoms of sepsis

A combination of these symptoms, following an existing infection, might mean that you have sepsis:

  • Disorientation and/or dizziness
  • Fever and/or cold shivers
  • Clammy skin
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • A fast heartbeat
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What do I do if I suspect sepsis?

The onset of sepsis is fast –it’s a medical emergency! If you develop an infection after surgery or hospitalisation, contact your doctor immediately. If you have any of the above symptoms following any sort of skin or organ infection, it’s also imperative to contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor will do blood tests to check how severe the sepsis is. He will check your blood to determine the platelet count (how well your blood can clot), the function of your kidneys and/or liver, an imbalance in electrolytes and minerals and if any infection is present.

From there, he will advise any additional tests that might be necessary to track further infection, and will run you through a treatment plan, which can either be antibiotics or hospitalisation.

Will I recover?

The faster you act, the quicker your doctor can start treatment. While it’s possible that there might be some permanent damage to your organs or tissues, your recovery depends on factors like your age, illnesses that you might already have, and your condition in general.

Many people die of sepsis and septic shock, but acting quickly will increase your chances of survival.

Can I prevent sepsis?

While we’re all bound to get infections during our lifetime, there are things we can do to prevent the infection from spreading to our blood:

  • Practise good hygiene, especially when it comes to wound care – disinfect any wounds, apply clean dressings regularly and wash your hands before treating wounds.
  • The sooner you spot and treat any form of infection, the less likely your chances are of getting sepsis.
  • Go to your doctor immediately if you have any form of respiratory infection like bronchitis, or a urinary tract infection like bladder infection. Treating these infections will also prevent them from spreading to the blood.
  • If you have had surgery, follow the post-operative instructions from your doctor to avoid any wounds getting infected.

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