Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis is a medical emergency, and it is important to act fast and find medical care immediately if you suspect you have sepsis. September is Sepsis Awareness Month and recognizing the signs and symptoms of sepsis infection is important.

Sepsis happens when germs enter the body and an infection develops. Without treatment, any infection can cause sepsis. If sepsis isn’t treated, the following may happen: as the infection worsens, the sepsis triggers a response in the rest of the body. That response can lead to tissue damage, failure of the organs and death. Sepsis often occurs in lung, skin, urinary or the gastrointestinal tract.

While most are bacterial infections, sepsis can also occur in viral infections like the flu or COVID-19. Individuals at a higher risk of developing sepsis include:

  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Children under age of one
  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • Sepsis survivors
  • People with chronic conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease or cancer

Signs and symptoms include infection (in some cases you may not know you have an infection), high heart rate, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, fever, chills, confusion, extreme pain and sweating.

Sepsis treatment includes antibiotic treatment, maintaining blood flow to the body’s organs and, in some cases, surgery to remove damaged tissues. Recovery from sepsis takes time. It is important to complete rehabilitation to rest and rebuild.

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