You may have heard alarming news stories about sepsis on television or via the internet. Frightening reports tell of individuals coming close to death after experiencing seemingly minor infections. For example, the little girl who ended up in the hospital after trying on shoes in her bare feet or the man whose limbs were amputated after a dentist nicked his gums. Does the possibility of sepsis lurk within every cut, scrape, or surgical procedure? Read on to learn what sepsis is and how it most commonly strikes.
10. What Is Sepsis?
“Sepsis” sounds like an infection. However, this term actually refers to the emergency situation in which the body launches an overwhelming and excessive response to an infection. Normally, a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection will trigger your body to launch an appropriate immune system response against the invading organism. In the cases of sepsis, the extreme immune attack can cause inflammation throughout your body. This can result in blood clots, bleeding, decreased blood circulation, and organ damage.
9. Which Pathogens Trigger Sepsis
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can all lead to a case of sepsis. However, bacteria are the most common culprits when sepsis occurs. Pneumonia, a urinary tract infection, or appendicitis can cause sepsis in some individuals. Others may experience a severe case of sepsis when a surgical procedure introduces bacteria into their bloodstream. The frightening stories in news reports tend to focus on bizarre and scarily random cases of sepsis. Examples include sepsis following an infected splinter, bitten fingernails, or contact with dog drool. While this can occur, sepsis most frequently affects sickly or immunocompromised patients following pneumonia or surgery.