Blood Infection - Sepsis

This is when chemicals are released into the blood to fight an infection. This causes reactions that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.

This is when chemicals are released into the blood to fight an infection. This causes reactions that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.

Bacteremia is when bacteria enter the bloodstream through an infection anywhere in the body. Sepsis occurs when chemicals are released into the bloodstream to fight an infection. These chemicals cause the body to react in ways that can lead to damage of tissue, failure of organs and even death. Sepsis can arise from an infection at any site. Some common infections that can lead to sepsis include:

  • Skin infections
  • Lung infections, such as pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infections, including infections in the bladder and kidneys
  • Abdominal infections, such as appendicitis

Sepsis can be associated with many different symptoms. As the infection enters the bloodstream it can cause:

  • Shivering, fever or feeling very cold
  • Pain or general discomfort
  • Sweaty, pale or discolored skin
  • Fatigue, which can be extreme, stupor (near unconsciousness) and confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate

Additional symptoms may be related to where the infection began. For example, a urinary tract infection may be associated with frequent urination or back pain in the area of the kidneys.

Sepsis is a medical emergency! If you have any symptoms of sepsis, you should seek immediate care at a facility that can handle medical emergencies, such as an emergency room.

Some ways to prevent sepsis and its complications include:

  • Getting all vaccines recommended by your healthcare provider. This includes the flu and pneumonia vaccine.
  • Preventing infections by keeping all scrapes and wounds clean.
  • Practicing good body hygiene, especially frequent hand washing.
  • Getting timely treatment of infections.
  • Notifying your healthcare provider if you develop signs and symptoms of sepsis (see above).

This care path includes the costs for inpatient evaluation and treatment of a blood infection (sepsis).

You should see a healthcare provider if you have an infection, especially if you develop signs and symptoms of sepsis. Remember, sepsis is a medical emergency!

What are some questions for the healthcare provider?

  • Is there an infection in the blood? Where did the infection come from?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • How long will the hospitalization be? When can the infection be managed as an outpatient?
  • What are the potential complications of sepsis?
  • What are the potential side effects of the medications? What if the medications do not work?
  • How long will the medications need to be taken?
  • How often will blood work be needed?


Also known as:

Blood Infection - Sepsis
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