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SEPSIS

 

Sepsis, also referred to as blood poisoning or septicaemia, is a condition triggered by the presence of harmful microbes and their toxins in bodily tissues, typically through infection of a wound or even a small cut or bite from an insect or an animal. This then causes the immune system to attacks the body's own tissues and organs whilst trying to fight off the infection when it spreads in the blood. This can lead to a reduction of blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys and cause organ failure which can be fatal.

 

It is vital that patients presenting any of the symptoms below are assessed rapidly and those with life-threatening sepsis should be treated within one hour.

Bacterial, fungal or viral infections can lead sepsis and the most common causes are

  • Abdominal infection

  • Bloodstream infection (bacteraemia)

  • Kidney infection

  • Pneumonia

Sepsis can happen in three stages and the first symptoms can be:

  • Body temperature above 101 F (38.3 C) or below 96.8 F (36 C).

  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute.

  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute.

  • Severe shivering and muscle pain.

  • Discoloured or mottled skin.

  • Slurred speech.

Symptoms in young children include:

  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale.

  • Very lethargic or difficult to wake.

  • Abnormally cold to touch.

  • Breathing very fast.

  • A rash that does not fade when pressed.

  • A seizure or convulsion.

Severe sepsis (stage two) is where at least one of the following signs and symptoms is apparent which indicate an organ may be failing:

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Abnormal heart pumping function.

  • Abrupt change in mental status.

  • Decrease in platelet count.

  • Difficulty breathing.

  • Significantly decreased urine output.

Septic shock (stage three) will be diagnosed after there are signs and symptoms of severe sepsis plus extremely low blood pressure that does not adequately respond to simple fluid replacement.

There are no natural remedies for this life threatening condition and only emergency hospital treatment is able to deal with it. Having a malfunctioning spleen can lead to sepsis so it is important to protect against it by helping the body to fight off any infections before they overwhelm the immune system. See link to spleen disorders below.

 

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