What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening infection of the bloodstream by toxin-producing bacteria, which can develop anywhere in the body. Sepsis can accompany meningitis, infections of the bone in hospitalized patients, intravenous lines, surgical wounds or breaks in the skin. In sepsis, blood pressure drops, resulting in shock. Major organs and systems stop functioning normally.


Symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Confusion or delirium

  • Rapid heart beat

  • Hyperventilation

  • Warm Skin

  • Shaking

  • Skin rash

  • Decreased urine output


A diagnosis of septsis is confirmed by a blood culture positive for bacteria, a white blood cell count either too high or low and/or other laboratory tests. 


Treatment for sepsis requires prompt intravenous treatment with a broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotic. The original source of the infection must be identified and then treated with the appropriate antibiotics.

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