Some elements of our website may not load if you have an ad blocker turned on.

Sepsis (Septic Shock) - Forrest Health
    Share This
    Skip to main content

    Sepsis (Septic Shock)

    Topic Overview

    What is sepsis?

    Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It causes inflammation across large areas of the body and can damage tissue and organs.

    Sepsis requires immediate care in a hospital.

    Septic shock is sepsis that causes extremely low blood pressure, which limits blood flow to the body. It can cause organ failure and death.

    What causes sepsis?

    Most of the time, sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection. A long-term or a sudden illness can cause sepsis. An injury or a reaction to surgery can also cause it.

    Sepsis can occur in people of any age. But it is more common in infants, older adults, and people who have a compromised immune system that cannot fight infection. Sepsis can develop very quickly.

    What are the symptoms of sepsis?

    Sepsis causes a combination of symptoms. Symptoms may include breathing problems, a fast heartbeat, chills, cool clammy skin, skin rashes, and shaking. Other symptoms may include a fever or low body temperature, confusion, and low blood pressure.

    If you are concerned about sepsis, go to the hospital immediately. Tell them you are concerned about sepsis.

    How is sepsis diagnosed?

    Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do tests, including blood tests. You may get an X-ray or CT scan to help find the infection.

    How is it treated?

    Doctors will treat sepsis with medicine to treat the infection. They will try to find the infection that led to sepsis.

    Machines will track vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pulse rate. You'll get fluids through an IV and may get strong medicine to help raise your blood pressure.

    You might need to be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) for several days or longer. An ICU is a part of the hospital where very sick people get care.

    Equipment in the ICU can support your body. That includes your breathing, circulation, fluids, and help for organs like the kidneys and heart. If you need help breathing, a ventilator may be used.

    How can you prevent sepsis?

    Here are some ways to help prevent infections that could lead to sepsis:

    • Try to avoid colds and flu. If you are around people who have a cold or the flu, wash your hands often. And get a flu vaccine every year.
    • Get the pneumococcal vaccine (to prevent pneumonia, meningitis, and other infections). If you have had one before, ask your doctor if you need another dose.
    • Clean any wounds or scrapes.
    • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. When you quit smoking, you are less likely to get a cold, the flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

    Credits

    Current as of: June 9, 2019

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
    Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine


    Related Services

    Related Locations


    Notice of Privacy Practices · PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST · FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE · NON-DISCRIMINATION NOTICE

    REQUEST FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR RELEASE OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION
    6051 US HIGHWAY 49, HATTIESBURG MS 39401 · 601-288-7000 · © FORREST HEALTH · ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ·

    A Board of Trustees appointed by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors is charged with the oversight of Forrest Health.  The system is completely self supporting and does not operate on local taxes.
    Forrest Health facilities are approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for participation in Medicare and Medicaid Programs.