What is Blood Poisoning?

By: Dzhingarov

Blood poisoning, also known as septicemia or sepsis, occurs when germs invade your bloodstream and trigger a severe response that includes low blood pressure that can quickly lead to death.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone you know, call 999 immediately as it can be difficult to spot.

Causes

Blood poisoning, also known as septicemia, occurs when germs enter the bloodstream and trigger a life-threatening inflammatory response. Most commonly caused by bacteria but sometimes viruses or parasites as well. While any infection in any part of the body could trigger this condition, most commonly seen when bacteria infiltrate lungs, digestive tract or urinary tract. It could also develop from an infection at wound site or after surgical site procedures.

As this condition constitutes a medical emergency, treatment must include antibiotics and fluid administration through vein (given through an IV tube into a vein). Without intervention, septic shock could set in, which kills most individuals who contract it.

Septic shock occurs when your immune system goes into overdrive to fight an infection, producing chemicals that damage organs and tissue while simultaneously leading to dangerous drops in blood pressure that prevent oxygen from reaching vital organs such as your lungs and other body systems. Untreated, this condition can result in multiple organ failure and even death.

People most at risk for sepsis include hospitalized individuals (especially those who use catheters or IVs) as well as those suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes or cancer. Surgery procedures that involve complex operations, like kidney transplantation or major burn repair can also put someone at an increased risk.

At any point in time, any object can enter your bloodstream, potentially leading to serious blood infections. They’re most often contracted through infections in the lung, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract as well as surgery or injury; less likely causes include skin infections which don’t usually reach sepsis level quickly if left untreated – while needle infections in healthcare settings often have more severe consequences due to drug resistance among antimicrobials; infections acquired from someone infected tend to spread faster due to shared immune systems, although they can occur anywhere within their respective institutions – being most frequent within hospitals but also occurring anywhere

Symptoms

Blood poisoning, also known as septicemia or sepsis, occurs when bacteria from another infection enter the bloodstream and quickly spread throughout your body. If left untreated quickly it could prove fatal.

Blood poisoning does not refer to ingestion of poison, although this term is sometimes used to avoid using sepsis as it refers to all complications resulting from infections. The main symptoms include high or low temperatures, rapid heart rate and breathing rates and an unusually large increase in white blood cells; people already in hospital as well as those with compromised immune systems are particularly prone to contracting an infection that develops into sepsis.

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Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and conduct tests to diagnose your infection. They’ll conduct a physical exam and check vital signs such as temperature, breathing rate and blood pressure before performing tests on a sample from wound or area of skin to look for bacteria present in your body and test for infection or signs of kidney, liver or lung issues.

Your body’s normal defenses should eliminate germs before they cause an infection and lead to sepsis, but this may not always be possible. If germs enter your bloodstream quickly enough, they can overwhelm the immune system’s defenses against infection by killing infection-fighting white blood cells that normally protect us against such threats.

Sepsis or severe sepsis requires immediate hospital treatment, usually an intensive care unit setting where you will be closely monitored by staff. If successful treatment occurs, patients can return home within days. To minimize your chances of sepsis occurring again at some point in time, keep your cancer or haematology team’s 24-hour helpline phone number handy at all times and ask your family members and friends to do the same if you are at risk – making it easier for them to contact the helpline in case any concerns arise.

Diagnosis

Sepsis occurs when our bodies’ response to infection becomes severely amplified. Signs and symptoms include difficulty breathing (lung problems), low or no urine output from kidneys (kidney problems), abnormal liver tests results or changes in mental status; those with weak immune systems or chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of sepsis.

Sepsis is an illness of serious consequence that requires hospitalization for proper management and time-sensitive treatment. A doctor will often begin antibiotic treatment even prior to having confirmation from tests; instead they’ll perform a blood culture which looks for bacteria present and look out for endotoxin, produced when bacteria breaks apart and dissolves in the blood stream; this helps them determine whether the infection may have come from specific strains of Gram-negative bacteria that cause infections in lungs and urinary tract.

Those suffering from septic shock will most likely need to be admitted into intensive care. The illness itself can compromise vital organs like the heart, kidneys and brain; most individuals treated early usually recover well; however if undiagnosed and treated late then sepsis could prove fatal.

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Blood poisoning (or septicemia) occurs when bacteria (and sometimes viruses or fungi) enter the bloodstream and spread through it, eventually reaching every cell in your body. People with compromised immune systems such as those suffering from diabetes or cancer are especially at risk, while hospital patients equipped with catheters or IV lines can be susceptible to sepsis infections; bedsores or pressure ulcers, caused by broken skin cells that break open easily are particularly at risk, though infection from bacteria could still cause it.

Treatment

Treatment should begin as soon as possible to prevent organ damage and death. People at greater risk for infection must receive immediate care as soon as they exhibit symptoms, while those having difficulty fighting infections must receive even faster medical assistance.

Health care providers can diagnose sepsis by looking at signs and symptoms as well as asking pertinent questions. In addition, they may swab the skin or wound for bacteria; check white blood cell count; count bacteria counts in blood; examine heart and lungs; take urine sample or stool sample from person affected; perform tests that determine cause and extent of infection etc.

Antibiotics are the primary treatment for sepsis. Antibiotics should be given through an IV line directly into a vein (intravenously), either broad-spectrum or targeted against specific germs responsible. Antibiotic treatment should start soon after diagnosis and continue for as long as necessary; in serious cases they may need to be admitted to intensive care units, where fluids through an intravenous line and oxygen from special machines will keep blood pressure elevated; vasopressor medications might be required as well as surgery to drain an abscess or dialysis if kidneys don’t function adequately enough.

Blood poisoning or septic shock recovery depends heavily on how quickly it is identified and treated, with those receiving early and aggressive care in an intensive care unit having the best chance at recovery; without treatment a person could die within hours. Even if someone survives sepsis, its impact can still be permanent and lead to heart and lung diseases, mental illnesses, loss of limbs or kidney or liver damage that cannot be reversed and difficulties fighting future infections. At any age, it is crucial that people regularly wash their hands. People with immune system deficiencies or chronic illnesses must ensure their hands are clean to reduce the chances of infection or septic shock developing; preventative measures include visiting their dentist regularly for dental work and caring for cuts and wounds promptly.