According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are over 1 million cases of sepsis each year, and it is the ninth leading cause of disease-related deaths. Sepsis can be deadly. Over 258,000 Americans die of sepsis annually and thousands of survivor’s live with dire life-changing after effects.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a serious blood infection — Sepsis is a serious illness. It has to do with the body’s immune response to bacteria infection. It occurs when the body has an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection. When chemicals are released into the blood to fight the infection, instead of combating the infection, they trigger widespread inflammation.
Causes of sepsis
An infection causes sepsis. An infection may occur when germs enters the body and multiply, causing illness, organ and tissue damage. Any type of infection in any part of the body can cause sepsis; infections of the skin, infections of the lungs such as pneumonia, urinary tract infection, abdomen infection such as appendicitis may lead to sepsis.
Symptoms of sepsis: Sepsis shows several signs because it is caused by an infection, hence there is no particular sign or symptom. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat which is an indication of an infection.
Other common symptoms may include; shivering, fever or very cold feeling, general discomfort or intense pain. Rapid breathing and heart rate you may notice a pale or discolored skin; feel sleepy, confused, short of breath or even feelings of death.
- Blood clot: The consequence is the formation of blood clots and leaky blood vessels which results to poor blood flow. Poor blood flow inhibits proper supply of nutrients and oxygen to the body’s organs.
- Septic shock: The condition may be worse enough to cause blood pressure to drop and weaken the heart which may lead to septic shock.
- Organ failure: One or more organs may fail in severe cases.
Who is at Risk of Sepsis: Anyone can get sepsis; however, the risk is higher in
- Infants and children
- Aged or elderly persons
- People suffering from a severe burn or physical trauma
- Persons with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, kidney or liver disease, AIDS, diabetes et a
Steps to prevent sepsis
- Clean scratches or wounds to prevent infections that can lead to sepsis.
- Wash hands or bath regularly to maintain good level of hygiene.
- Take vaccines to prevent flu, pneumonia or other infections.
- Consult your doctor for advice.
Diagnosis: Most symptoms of sepsis, such as fever and difficulty breathing are the same as in other conditions, making sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages.
The use of blood test to check for abnormality in the numbers of white blood cells is commonly used by doctors.
Lab tests can also be carried out to check for signs of infection. However, doctors use a number of physical findings like fever, increased heart rate, and increased breathing rate.
Treatment: Sepsis can be treated with antibiotics. Cases of sepsis are treated in intensive care units of the hospital. Doctors try to treat the infection, sustain the vital organs, and prevent a drop in blood pressure. Patients may be given oxygen and intravenous fluids. Although other types of treatment may be required; respirators or kidney dialysis, or even surgery may be needed to clear up an infection.
What to do if you notice an infection or suspect sepsis?
See your physician immediately because you have an emergency.