Sepsis is a life-threatening condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. This can cause a series of changes that damage multiple organ systems, leading them to fail, sometimes even resulting in death.
Neonatal sepsis is when your baby gets a blood infection within the first month of life. Neonatal sepsis is classified based on the timing of the infection, according to whether the infection was contracted during the birth process (early onset) or after birth (late onset). Low birth weight and premature babies are more susceptible to late onset sepsis because their immune systems are immature. Neonatal sepsis is a leading cause of infant death worldwide.
Any infection can trigger sepsis, but the following types of infections are more likely to cause sepsis:
- Abdominal infection
- Kidney infection
- Bloodstream infection
Symptoms of severe sepsis
- Patches of discolored skin
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast heart rate
- Chills due to fall in body temperature
- Mental confusion or disorientation
Anyone can get sepsis but it is more common and deadly in the following circumstances:
- A person who is very young or very old
- People with weaker immune systems, such as those with HIV or those in chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- A person who is already very sick, mostly in a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU)
- People who have wounds or injuries, such as burns
- People who have invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes
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