Septicemia Or Sepsis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Septicemia Or Sepsis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Last Updated: 24th July, 2022

Septicemia, also referred as sepsis, is a lethal and severe complication that can occur if when bacteria from any other infection contaminate the blood and spread all through the body. This requires immediate emergency medical treatment because it can cause organ failure, tissue damage and death fast and rapidly. Older people, the very youthful, those who have long-term disease and those who have recently undergone surgery are much more likely to be affected.

It may be caused by skin, urinary tract, liver and other infections. Sepsis and septicemia are so identical in nature that in both situations the term sepsis is most widely used.


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What Is Septicemia?

Septicemia is a lethal and a severe bloodstream infection. It’s also known as blood poisoning. Septicemia happens once a bacterial infection elsewhere within the body, like the lungs or skin, enters the blood. This is dangerous as a result of the bacterium and their toxins may be carried through the blood to your entire body.

What Is Septicemia


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Septicemia can often be rapidly, potentially fatal. It must be treated in a hospital. Septicemia can regress to sepsis rapidly if left untreated. Septicemia and sepsis aren’t the same. Sepsis is a chronic septicemia complicated factor. Sepsis triggers body-wide inflammatory responses. This inflammation can cause blood clots and block oxygen from reaching vital organs, resulting in organ failure.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that over 1 million Americans get severe sepsis each year. Between twenty-eight and 50 % of those patients could die from the condition. When the inflammation happens with very low blood pressure, it’s called septic shock. In many instances, septic shock is lethal.


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What Causes Septicemia?

Septicemia is caused by an infection in another a part of your body. Generally, this infection is stringent. Many types of bacteria can lead to septicemia. The exact source of the infection often can’t be determined. The most common infections that result in septicemia are:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Lung infections, such as pneumonia
  • Kidney infections
  • Infections in the abdominal area
  • Bacteria from these infections enter the blood and multiply speedily, causing immediate symptoms.

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What Causes Septicemia

People already in the hospital for something else, such as a surgery, are at a higher risk of developing septicemia. Secondary infections can occur while in the hospital. These infections are often more dangerous because the bacteria may already be resistant to antibiotics. You’re also at a higher risk of developing septicemia if you:


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  • Have severe wounds or burns
  • Are very young or very old
  • Have a compromised immune system, which can occur from conditions, such as HIV or leukemia, or from medical treatments such as chemotherapy or Steroid injections.
  • Have a urinary or intravenous catheter
  • Are on mechanical ventilation

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What Are The Symptoms Of Septicemia?

Septicemia symptoms usually begin extremely quickly. Even within the initial stages, a person can look very sick. A trauma, surgery, or other localized infection, such as pneumonia, can follow. The initial symptoms that are most common are:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Breathing very fast
  • Rapid heart rate

What Are The Symptoms Of Septicemia


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More severe symptoms can begin to emerge as septicemia progresses while not correct treatment. These include the following:

  • Confusion or inability to think clearly
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red dots that appear on the skin
  • Reduced urine volume
  • Inadequate blood flow
  • Shock

If you or anyone else shows signs of septicemia, getting to the hospital for treatment right away is vital. You shouldn’t wait or try to treat the problem at home.


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Complications Of Septicemia

There are a number of serious medical conditions of septicemia. These complications are also fatal if left untreated or if treatment is delayed for too long.


Sepsis occurs when your body has a strong immune response to the infection. This leads to widespread inflammation throughout the body. It’s called severe sepsis if it leads to organ failure.

People with chronic diseases are at a higher risk of sepsis. This is because they have a weakened immune system and can’t fight off the infection on their own.

Septic Shock

One complication of septicemia could be a serious drop in the blood pressure. This is called the shock of the septic. Toxins discharged by the bacterium within the blood will cause very low blood flow, which may result in organ or tissue damage.

Septic shock is an emergency medical treatment. People with septic shock are typically cared for in a very hospital’s medical care unit. You may need to be put on a ventilator, or breathing machine, if you’re in septic shock.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a third complicating factor of septicemia. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening condition that prevents enough oxygen from reaching your lungs and blood. Acute respiratory distress syndrome usually leads to some level of permanent respiratory organ damage. It can also damage your brain, leading to memory problems.

How Is Septicemia Diagnosed?

Diagnosing septicemia and sepsis are some of the biggest challenges facing doctors. It can be difficult to find the exact cause of the infection. Diagnosis will usually involve a wide range of tests.

Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and ask your medical history. They’ll perform a physical examination to look for low blood pressure or body temperature. Your doctor might also be looking for signs of more common septicemia-related conditions, including:


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Your doctor may want to perform tests on multiple types of fluids to help confirm a bacterial infection. These may include the following:

  • Urine
  • Wound secretions and skin sores
  • Respiratory secretions
  • Blood

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Your doctor might check your counts of platelets and cells and could also prescribe blood clotting tests. Your doctor might also check up on the oxygen and CO2 levels in your blood if septicemia is inflicting you to have respiratory problems.

If indications of infection are not evident, your physician can recommend a test to examine specific tissues and organs more thoroughly, such as:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT scans
  • Ultrasound

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Treatment For Septicemia

Septicemia that has begun to have an effect on your organs or tissue functions could be a medical emergency. It must be treated at a hospital. Many people with septicemia are admitted for treatment and recovery.

Your treatment will depend on several factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • The extent of your condition
  • Your tolerance for certain medications

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Antibiotics are usually used to treat septicemia causing bacterial infection. There isn’t typically enough time to figure out the type of bacteria. Course of treatment will usually use antibiotics of “broad spectrum.”

These are designed to work against a wide range of bacteria at once. A more focused antibiotic may be used if the specific bacteria are identified.

You may get fluids and other medications intravenously to maintain your blood pressure or to prevent blood clots from forming. You may also get oxygen through a mask or ventilator if you experience breathing issues as a result of septicemia.


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How To Prevent Septicemia?

The root cause of septicemia is bacterial infections. See a doctor right away if you think you have this condition. You might be able to prevent the bacteria from contaminating your bloodstream provided the infection can be treated successfully with antibiotic therapy in the early stages.

Parents can help protect children from septicemia by ensuring they stay up to date with their vaccinations.

If you already have a compromised immune system, the following precautions can help prevent septicemia:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid illegal drugs
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Stay away from people who are sick

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When diagnosed very early, septicemia can be treated effectively with antibiotics. Research efforts are focused on finding out better ways to diagnose the condition earlier.

Even with all medication, permanent and irreversible organ damage can possibly occur. This is especially true for people with preexisting conditions that affect their immune systems.

There have been many medical developments in diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and training for septicemia. This has helped reduce mortality rates. As shown in a study in the journal in Critical Care Medicine, the mortality rate from septic shock in hospitals has dropped significantly from 47% (1991-1995) to 29% (2006-2009).

In case you develop the symptoms of septicemia or sepsis after surgery or an infection, be sure to seek medical care right away.

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