What is sepsis?
Sepsis is a condition that occurs when an infection in the body reaches the bloodstream and triggers inflammation. The infection can be bacterial, fungal, or viral.
It causes tiny blood clots to occur in the blood stream which prevents the smooth flow of blood to different organs in the body. It can be dangerous and quite often fatal. It is an emergency medical condition and needs immediate medical care/hospitalization.
The stages of sepsis
- Stage 1 – Sepsis – The infection reaches the bloodstream and triggers inflammation.
- Stage 2 – Severe sepsis – The infection is severe enough to affect normal functioning of the organs.
- Stage 3 – Septic shock – There is a drop in blood pressure and the patient goes into respiratory failure or heart failure, stroke, or even multiple organ failure.
Symptoms of septic shock
Very high fever (<101˚F)
A decrease or lack of urine output
Disorientation and dizziness
Blue discoloration on lips, fingers, toes
Very low blood pressure
Loss of consciousness
Who are at most risk for sepsis?
Older people, newborns and pregnant women
People with repressed immune systems due to HIV, lupus, RA, etc
People undergoing IBD or cancer treatments
People recovering from surgeries
Those who have been hospitalized for a long time
Diabetic patients who are dependent on insulin injection.
People exposed to infected medical apparatus
What happens to your body during a septic shock?
When you get an infection, your body fights back by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream. This helps your body to kill the bacteria or virus. If you contract sepsis, your body turns against you and the same chemicals that were released to fight the infection trigger inflammation which impair blood flow to the body’s organs thus inducing damage to the organs and possible organ failure.
Antibiotics, IV fluids, preventive and supportive treatment have to be given immediately to control the sepsis. The recovery will depend on how swiftly the treatment is given and how good the support is. It is important to find a hospital that offers a complete intensive care treatment and is geared for any kind of organ failure or emergency.