Sepsis: What Is It And How To Avoid It

If you have pneumonia or some other infection, you may be vulnerable to sepsis, a common complication caused by bacteria in your blood or tissues. In a worst case scenario, your major organ systems can shut down, and you can die. If you are older or have a compromised immune system, you are more likely to contract this condition. As a result, you need to know what it means and how it's treated.


Anyone can get sepsis, but the majority of people who get it have some sort of physical condition that makes them more vulnerable. Any type of lung infection, including pneumonia, as well as urinary tract infections and strep infections can easily turn into sepsis. Also, people with catheters or breathing tubes are more at risk. In short, if you are already sick, sepsis is more likely to attack your system than if you were healthy. As a result, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities are often breeding grounds for sepsis. Bacteria simply enters the openings available to them.


Sepsis presents itself through a variety of symptoms. You may have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, a rapid heartbeat, and problems breathing. In some instances, you will become confused and experience extreme discomfort. If any of these symptoms present themselves, particularly if you are at a higher risk for sepsis, you need to seek medical help immediately. Sepsis can worsen quickly, so you can find yourself in serious danger in a matter of hours.


Once you've been diagnosed with sepsis, you will be given antibiotics to fight off the infection until blood tests reveal the specific bacteria causing your infection. You may also be given medications that will help keep your blood pressure at an appropriate level. You may receive oxygen as well as intravenous fluids. The duration of your treatment will vary depending on the severity of your infection and your overall conditions. Sometimes, you will have to follow a strict medication schedule for some time even after you are released.

Proper hygiene can help stop the transfer of sepsis, but for many people, the best prevention is simply mindfulness. If you are in a high-risk category, you cannot afford to ignore a fever, the chills, or any significant discomfort. You should always assume that your symptoms could be something serious and have them checked out by a medical professional, like one at Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home. Sepsis can be an almost silent killer.