Sometimes referred to as septicemia or blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection. It can begin with bacteria, such as staph or E. coli, and occurs most often with pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin abrasions or stomach and/or intestine conditions.

Some people are at higher risk of developing sepsis, including the very young, the very old, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened or impaired immune system. Sepsis is not contagious, however, if sepsis is not treated early, it can damage your organs and can even cause death.

Sepsis symptoms include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath; more than 20 breaths per minute
  • High heart rate; more than 90 beats per minute 
  • Fever; less than 96.8 degrees Farenheight or greater than 100.4 degrees Farenheight
  • Shivering, clammy, or sweaty skin
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Extreme pain or discomfort

If you observe these symptoms, say something. Treatment works best the faster it is administered at the onset of sepsis.

Diagnosis of Sepsis:

  • Blood Tests
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Urine Tests 

Sepsis treatment options:

Sepsis is a medical emergency and needs to be treated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Individuals diagnosed with sepsis must be treated at a hospital, so the source of the infection is treated simultaneously, and blood flow to organs can be monitored.

  • Antibiotics and saline/fluids, typically through IVs
  • In extreme cases, breathing assistance, kidney dialysis or surgery may be required

Get immediate medical attention if you have any signs or symptoms of an infection or sepsis.

According to the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), sepsis is among the top 10 most common and potentially preventable complications across Maryland hospitals, and it is also a leading cause of mortality and readmission.

Visit sepsis.org to learn more.