What is Sepsis?
The immune system soars a massive inflammatory return to these poisons – this is referred to as Sepsis. The current definition of Sepsis is based on recent developments in the scientific understanding of the condition. The disease development is also not fully understood, with treatment still very highly challenging.
Sepsis is defined as “life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection.” In lay terms, Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that climbs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.
Sepsis is possible in anyone with an infection that develops a complication, but the people most at risk of Sepsis are the very young and the old, and anyone with,
- A weakened immune system
- A severe wound, including burns
The signs and symptoms of Sepsis following a bad infection are often subtle and can be mistaken for those of other serious conditions. However, Sepsis typically involves the following main features in someone who has had a recent infection, and symptoms can come on quickly.
Get urgent medical help – go to the hospital immediately whenever Sepsis is suspected.
- Fever (high temperature, pyrexia), and there may be chills and shivering
- Fast heart rate/pulse (tachycardia)
- Rapid rate of breathing (tachypnea)
- Unusual levels of sweating (diaphoresis)
- Dizziness or feelings of faintness
- Confusion or a drop in alertness, or any other unusual change in mental state, including a feeling of doom or a real fear of death
- Slurred speech
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Severe muscle pain and extreme general discomfort
- Difficulty breathing – shortness of breath
- Low urine output (not needing to urinate for a whole day, for example)
- Skin that is cold, clammy, and pale, or discolored or mottled
- Skin that is cool and pale at the extremities, signaling poor blood supply (poor perfusion)
- Loss of consciousness
Get medical help for anyone whether the skin feels unusually warm or cold; either can happen with Sepsis. It is also very important to call for urgent medical help if Sepsis has reached a late stage – severe Sepsis or Septic Shock.
When calling for medical help, going to the ER, or speaking to doctors and nurses, it is important to mention any recent infection, surgical procedure, or if the patient has a compromised immune system.
Theres three general ways to reducing the risk of an infection leading to Sepsis. The measures are particularly important for the very young, older people, and others who are vulnerable to complications of infection.
- If instructed by your doctor, get vaccinated against potential infections, including the flu and pneumonia
- Keep any scrapes and wounds clean to prevent infection and keep good hygiene practices such as hand-washing
- If there is an infection, stay alert to possible sepsis symptoms – fever, chills, rapid heart rate and rapid breathing, rash, or confusion and disorientation
In older people, the early signs of Sepsis may be harder to spot than in younger people, but as symptoms progress, the person’s condition can deteriorate rapidly. Sepsis is most likely to stem from a respiratory tract problem or a genitourinary infection.
Treatment is available, but severe sepsis is fatal in 50 to 60 percent of cases among seniors. Early treatment is more likely to be effective.
The main treatment for Sepsis is antibiotics as most cases are caused by a bacterial infection.
Doctors may have to make a “best guess” at the type of infection, and the type of antibiotics needed, because speed in treating the infection is of the greatest importance; waiting for laboratory sample tests would hold up a potentially lifesaving intervention.