Sepsis- Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

According to WHO, sepsis leads to 6 million death annually in low and middle-income countries. Image: Pixabay

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis or Septicemia is a life-threatening medical condition caused by the hyperactive immune response to an infection. It is estimated that 27-30 million people are affected by sepsis every year, 7- 9 million die due to sepsis. 

In sepsis, Body starts releasing chemicals into the blood to fight the infection which in turn lead to inflammation of the blood vessels and sometimes organ failure. People with a weak immune system are at high risk of contracting an infection. People with chronic illnesses especially the older ones are also at high risk of developing sepsis. 

Sepsis can’t be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms but if one fall in higher-risk groups, your doctor may suspect sepsis. Sepsis progresses if not identifies or treated and can lead to more severe symptoms like difficulty in breathing, no urine output, liver problems, and mental confusion.

One should seek immediate medical advice if diagnose with symptoms of sepsis. Early detection and treatment are necessary for the survival and limiting disability for the sepsis affected. 


Causes 

Sepsis occurs when potentially dangerous bacteria or microorganisms enter the body through an open wound or injury. Bacteria that cause sepsis are S. aureus, streptococcus species, and Neisseria.

Severe cases of sepsis occur when a thorough body reaction occurs due to the spread of infection into the bloodstream. Sometimes sepsis can occur due to an infection to a particular part of the body like the liver or lungs.

People are at higher risk for sepsis if they had an organ transplant or undergone a treatment that requires suppression of the immune system. Sometimes antibiotic drugs can’t cure the infection that later becomes sepsis infections.


Symptoms

The common symptoms include fever, chills, rapid heartbeat and breathing, sweaty or clammy skin and extreme discomfort in the body. Mental confusion and disorientation may also occur but these symptoms may not always be due to sepsis and hence cause difficulty in diagnosing, especially in early stages that lead to disease progression. It is advisable to consult with the doctor if in doubt and undergo tests for sepsis for the early identification of the condition to prevent the spread of infection to organs.

How to prevent Sepsis?

Sepsis occurs when a bacteria, virus, or fungi enter the body through an infection caused by a wound or injury. Awareness and getting treatment on time are essential to prevent sepsis.

Hygiene

Wash your hand and wear disposable gloves before touching an open wound or injury. Rinse the wound with clean running water to clear out dirt and debris. An open wound must be covered to protect it from dirt and prevent the wound infection to become worse.

Treat with vaccinations

Various antibiotics and vaccinations can help to reduce the severity of the infection. Good hygiene and first aid practices should be followed to protect against the infection.

Know your symptoms

Never ignore the symptoms of sepsis. Look out for physical symptoms like fever, chills, rash, or confusion. Consult a medical professional for advice.

https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/Documents/Sepsis.pdf

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