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Jennifer Heisler, RN

Sepsis Information: How An Infection Becomes Sepsis - Septic Shock

By October 28, 2011

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What is sepsis? How did a simple infection become a life-threatening illness? How did a routine surgery lead to sepsis and septic shock?

These questions, and many more like them, are common after a loved one (or even you) are diagnosed with a serious infection.  Some people don't even realize they have an infection before they are facing a significant health crisis.

So how does sepsis start?

Sepsis starts as a simple local infection.  It may be something as simple as an infected tooth, a boil, a surgical incision or an ear infection.  The original infection can be so minor that you don't even know you have one, or it just doesn't seem like something worth worrying about.  Then the infection spreads into the blood stream.  If it is bacteria, we refer to it as bacteremia.  If it is viral we call that viremia.  A person is septic when the infection is spreading though the body via the blood stream.

All About Sepsis

Things get extremely serious, and can result in death, when the sepsis becomes septic shock.  Septic shock is when the infection in the blood stream becomes too much for the body to handle and the patient requires fluids, medications to keep their blood pressure up, and a ventilator to help them breathe.  Septic Shock patients belong in an ICU and they are often extremely ill, so ill, in fact, that people can and do die from septic shock.

Sepsis or Septic Shock?

Preventing Infection

While preventing an infection is the ideal solution to the problem, that isn't always possible.  In that case, the best you can do is realize that an infection is present as early as possible.

Is It Infection? Signs and Symptoms of Infection

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