Sepsis is an intense response to an infection that enters the body and makes its way to the bloodstream. Though septic poisoning is widespread with more than 750,000 people treated annually, more than 50 percent of those people affected will perish. Due to the severity of this condition, it’s considered a life-threatening medical emergency.
Anyone who has a wound on their persons can become septic. It starts with an infection that is already present in the body. It can be in the urinary tract, on the skin, or even in the lungs. This infection triggers a chain reaction, and the blood circulates the toxins to other locations.
If a person with this condition doesn’t get care immediately, they can experience organ failure, their vital tissues will become damaged, and they will perish. Time is of the essence, and there are treatment options available.
Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis (Septicemia)
Due to the severity of this condition, it’s essential to recognize the signs. Some people feel like they have the flu, but it’s much more severe. Here are ten red flags that indicate you need to get help immediately.
Whenever there is severe trouble in the body, it’s almost always accompanied by a high fever. Higher body temperature is a sign that the immune system is kicking into overdrive to defend a foreign invader. Commonly, the reason for the fever is that there is an infection present that the defense system is trying to overcome.
If you have a persistent fever that doesn’t seem to break, then it warrants medical attention. If no home remedies or over-the-counter treatments seem to help resolve the issues, then you need to seek medical attention right away.
2. Flushing of the Skin
Flushing of the skin can be a symptom that occurs with many conditions. However, when it comes to septic shock, it’s almost always near the infection site. Since going into septic shock can cause the heart and lungs to be significantly affected, flushing should be taken seriously.
Many people experience flushing with anxiety or other situations that waxes and wanes, but if you go septic, it won’t let up. If you are having bouts of constant flushing, then you need to see a doctor.
3. General Fatigue
It’s difficult to base a diagnosis of fatigue alone as this sign often comes with many medical conditions. If you are resting for 6-8 hours each night, and you still wake up tired, then it’s an indication that something is wrong. Don’t be alarmed by exhaustion alone, as it should be accompanied by other things on this list to be concerned.
When there is an underlying infection in the body, the body uses sleep as a coping mechanism. The more rest you get, the more strength you can build to fight the toxins. Doctors always say to get plenty of rest because they know the healing properties of proper sleep.
No amount of rest you get is going to cure you if there is a septic condition in your body, and chronic fatigue warrants a trip to the emergency room.
4. Lowered Blood Pressure
Rapid instances of high or low blood pressure are grounds for immediate medical attention. When it comes to issues with blood pressure, they need to be evaluated. While medication can be to blame for the fluctuations, it can also be an underlying medical issue.
Many things can cause blood pressure to run too high or too low. The most common situations are:
If the blood pressure issues have a sudden onset, then you need to get to the bottom of it. Low blood pressure can cause you to pass out. You may see dots in your field of vision as well as experiencing a tingling, pins, and needles feeling. Chronic low blood pressure can be a sign of sepsis.
5. Decreased Urination Volume
If there is a change in your urinary frequency or the volume you create, then it warrants to be evaluated. Medications, as well as a urinary tract infection, can cause this common problem. It’s essential to pay attention to your urinary habits after surgery, as you are more likely to develop a condition like sepsis.
While a change in your volume or frequency is something to make a note of, it doesn’t need medication attention unless other things accompany it from the list. If these issues are persistent, then it’s time to make an appointment to find out the root cause.
6. Trouble Breathing
Are you having problems breathing? Your breathing pattern may change from faster to slower when you are in septic shock. Though, it would be best if you remembered that breathing difficulties could occur with anything from a cold to anxiety too. When septic shock is considered, it will be accompanied by a fever, night sweats, and other issues on the list.
If you have a change in your breathing that is troubling, then you need to be evaluated by a medical professional. While sepsis probably won’t be the first thing they will consider, it’s essential to have the proper tests to find the root cause.
7. Shivering or Shaking
The body will tremble or shake when there is an infection present. If there is no other outside temperature issue that could cause this problem, then you need to seek medical help for constant shaking. Few people know that the body tries to warm itself by shivering to get the temperature back to an average level.
Keep in mind that there are a few other disorders that can also cause you to shiver and shake too. If you’re not sure what is causing these problems, then it’s worth getting a medical opinion. Shaking can be a sign that you are fighting off a severe infection, and it could mean you are septic too.
8. Vision Distortion
Vision distortion can be a scary occurrence. If you have sepsis, you may have blurred vision, see dots and lights, or have other abnormalities in your field of sight.
The problem in septic shock is that the eyes and the nerves associated can be affected by the infection.
While visual disturbances can indicate a problem with the eye itself, it can also indicate issues with vital organs like the kidneys. Your field of vision and vital organs are all linked, and any disturbances must be taken seriously. If you have distorted eyesight that is persistent, then you need to be evaluated.
9. Nausea and Vomiting
When the body is battling an infection, nausea and vomiting are commonplace. The body is attempting to purge the toxins it’s fighting. Though you can be nauseous and vomit with the flu or other sicknesses, these spells shouldn’t last for more than a few hours.
The problem with constant vomiting is that it dehydrates the body rather quickly. If you are running a fever, having visual problems, flushing, and feel overwhelming exhaustion, then it could be a sign of sepsis. Remember, there are hundreds of conditions that can cause you to vomit, so it’s essential to have some of the other symptoms present before seeking medical help.
10. Skin Discoloration/Rashes
Finally, skin discolorations are an outward sign of an inward problem. Your skin may appear warm or cold to the touch with sepsis. The color of your skin changes with blood flow fluctuations. For instance, when there is an infection in the leg, the immune system will flood this area to attack foreign invaders.
Skin discoloration can be a good indication of a severe issue. For instance, when your liver is affected, your skin may take on a yellow color. Additionally, you may see small abscesses form on the skin’s surface as well as blue or red streaks.
These outwards skin disturbances are signs that the blood vessels are carrying toxic materials. All you need is a simple blood test to see if there is an infection in the body. If sepsis is to blame, then getting the proper treatment could save your life.
When you are dealing with something as serious as sepsis, then time is of the essence. If you have blood poisoning by bacteria, then the mortality rate is as high as 50 percent. You have little time to waste in getting the proper medical attention as it can save your life.
Sepsis almost always starts with a fever accompanied by chills as well as nausea and vomiting. While each person differs in the symptoms they will experience, they are pretty standard across the board. When in doubt, it always is better to have anything concerning checked out.
Septic shock can happen in a matter of minutes, and you can go from coherent to unresponsive in seconds. It’s better to be safe than sorry. So have any troubling symptoms evaluated by a medical team immediately.