Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection, and it can be life-threatening. Sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Infections that lead to sepsis often start in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. Without fast treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Bacterial infections cause most cases of sepsis, but it can also be a result of other infections, including viral infections, such as COVID-19 or influenza or fungal infections.
To get ahead of sepsis, talk to your healthcare providers about steps you can take to prevent infection. Keep up with chronic conditions and get recommended vaccines. Protect yourself against germs by washing hands thoroughly and keeping cuts clean and covered until they heal. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis and act fast if you or someone has an infection that isn’t getting better.
Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis
- High heart rate or weak pulse
- Fever, shivering or feeling very cold
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Who is at Risk for Sepsis?
- Adults 65 and older
- People with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer and kidney disease
- People who survived sepsis
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with recent severe illness or hospitalization
- Children younger than one
The above content has been made using information provided by the CDC. Below are additional readings for more information.