Sepsis | Septicemia

Are you having a fever, trouble breathing or other symptoms following an infection? You may have sepsis, a serious condition that needs treatment right away. Sepsis is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Don’t delay to get help. Call your doctor or visit your hospital’s emergency department.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis occurs when your body’s immune system reacts to an infection. Getting vaccinated against infections such as pneumococcus (pneumonia) and meningitis is the best way to combat the risk of sepsis.

Sepsis risks

Sepsis is more likely to occur in:

  • People with weakened immune systems

  • Very young children, babies and the elderly

  • People with chronic diseases

  • People who have a severe burn or wound

Get vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia to reduce your risk of getting sepsis. Another way to prevent sepsis is to practice good hand hygiene. Be sure to wash and care for cuts and wounds.

Screening and diagnosing sepsis

Providers will be able to screen for sepsis by assessing symptoms, doing a physical exam, and ordering blood tests and other tests such as a chest xray.

Sepsis treatment

Treatment of the original infection is the first step to treating sepsis. Antibiotics will be prescribed to help fight the infection. Keeping vital organs going while the infection is treated is critical; patients may require IV fluids, medications to increase blood pressure, oxygen, and in severe cases a breathing machine or dialysis.