6 Symptoms Of Septic Infection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reiterated that there are over a million cases of sepsis annually. The number of deaths in the USA due to sepsis has reached a staggering 258,000 deaths a year causing the condition to be ranked among the top ten killer diseases in America. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which occurs when the body responds to an infection. In the non-medical sphere, it is referred to as blood poisoning.

In normal cases, the immune system is responsible for protecting the body against numerous illnesses but in some instances, the system goes into a state of hyperactivity as it fights various infections. The chemicals from the immune system infiltrate the bloodstream and trigger inflammatory responses instead of fighting infection. Such inflammation has the potential to cause a cascade of events that result in multiple organ damage and eventual failure of the organs.

Sepsis can attack anyone. However, older adults and individuals with weak immune systems are particularly susceptible to the condition. To improve the chances of survival, medical professionals usually aim to treat the condition early enough with antibiotics and copious amounts of intravenous fluids. Sepsis tends to occur when the patient is in the recovery period in the hospital. Other triggers that can lead to septic infection include pneumonia, kidney infection, bloodstream infection, and abdominal infections. The risk factors for the condition also include having wounds or injuries such as burns, severe health condition usually in the intensive care unit, or having invasive devices such as breathing tubes or catheters.

Sepsis progresses in three stages which include sepsis, followed by severe sepsis, and eventually leading to septic shock. In sepsis, the infection affects the bloodstream and results in inflammation throughout the body. Severe sepsis then occurs where the infection impedes blood flow to vital organs and blood clots cause tissue death in various organs. In the septic shock stage, the individual’s blood pressure drops significantly and experiences multiple organ failure. Frequently, the kidneys, liver, and lungs tend to fail.

1. Fever Above 101.8

Fever has always been considered to confer the body a survival advantage during infection with researchers showing that the increase in body temperature impedes microbial growth and enhances the immune system through improved cytotoxic cell function. However, during septic infections, the high fever may complicate an already life-threatening condition and result in additional physiological complications.

The increased temperature can result in increased metabolic rate and higher oxygen consumption thus leading to overstimulated cytotoxic effectors that invoke tissue death and injury. There is no succinct definition for hyperthermia but the general consensus is that it is a core temperature above 101.8. Research shows that the brain and heart are sensitive to elevated body temperature and could become damaged. A fever above 101.8 is considered a significant manifestation of infection and could have adverse effects.