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Treatment and Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe response to bacteria or other germs.

This response may be called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

The symptoms of sepsis may develop after a localised infection (an infection limited to one part of the body) or injury.

In some cases, sepsis may develop when you are already in hospital, for example if you have recently had surgery and a drip or catheter has been connected to your body. Read more about the causes of sepsis.

The symptoms of sepsis are not caused by the germs themselves. Instead, chemicals the body releases cause the response.

A bacterial infection anywhere in the body may set off the response that leads to sepsis. Common places where an infection might start include:
  • The bloodstream
  • The bones (common in children)
  • The bowel (usually seen with peritonitis)
  • The kidneys (upper urinary tract infection or pyelonephritis)
  • The lining of the brain (meningitis)
  • The liver or gallbladder
  • The lungs (bacterial pneumonia)
  • The skin (cellulitis)
For patients in the hospital, common sites of infection include intravenous lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and sites of skin breakdown known as bedsores (decubitus ulcers).


 Symptoms of Sepsis

The symptoms of sepsis usually develop quickly and include:
  • chills
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing
  • a fever or high temperature over 38C (100.4F)
  • confusion or delirium


Symptoms of severe sepsis or septic shock include:
  • low blood pressure that makes you feel dizzy when you stand up
  • a change in your mental state, such as confusion or disorientation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • cold, clammy and pale skin

The most common sites of infection leading to sepsis are the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen and pelvis.

Treatment of Sepsis

If you have sepsis, you will be admitted to a hospital, usually in the intensive care unit (ICU). Antibiotics are usually given through a vein (intravenously).

Oxygen and large amounts of fluids are given through a vein. Other medical treatments include:
  • Medications that increase blood pressure
  • Dialysis if there is kidney failure
  • A breathing machine (mechanical ventilation) if there is lung failure

Source : http://nanda-nurse-diary.blogspot.com/2013/01/symptoms-and-treatment-of-sepsis.html

Pediatric Nurses