In a healthy body, infections from germs like bacteria, viruses, fungi,
or parasites are prevented or fought by the immune system. Sometimes,
for reasons that researchers still have not figured out, the immune system
stops fighting the germs and instead turns on itself, which can lead to
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone can develop sepsis, but the very young, the elderly, the chronically
ill, or those with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of sepsis.
What are the Symptoms?
If you or a loved one has an infection, it’s important to be on the
lookout for a combination of
sepsis symptoms, and see a doctor immediately if you have them. The Sepsis Alliance has
adopted this mantra to help remember the symptoms:
When it comes to sepsis, remember it’s about
T – Temperature: Any change in your body’s temperature—both high or low—can
be a sign of sepsis.
I – Infection: You may have signs and symptoms around the affected area (such as chest
pain for pneumonia), or signs like fever, fatigue, and pain for a generalized
infection. Keep in mind that it is possible to have an infection and not know it.
M – Mental decline: Watch for a sudden change in mental status, such as becoming confused or
E – Extremely ill: Sepsis survivors often say that it was the worst, sickest, or most in pain
they’d ever felt.
How Do You Treat It?
The most common
treatments for sepsis are antibiotics and IV fluids.
Typically, a doctor will prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are
effective against many of the most common bacteria, given intravenously
to get into the patient’s system quickly. In addition, IV fluids
help to keep the blood pressure at a healthy level, keeping organs functioning
properly and to reduce damage from sepsis.
The best treatment, of course, is prevention. To reduce your risk of infection,
be sure to stay up-to-date on vaccinations, keep wounds clean, and wash
your hands to keep yourself healthy.
To learn more about sepsis,