"Sepsis can strike anyone, but it often develops from infections associated with trauma, surgery, burns or cancer," said Jean-Louis Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., FCCM, Professor and Head of the Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, University of Brussels, Belgium. "When someone dies of 'complications' from cancer or pneumonia, it is more than likely caused by severe sepsis."
Sepsis is the body's response to an infection. Patients developing sepsis progress from ill to seriously ill, to major organ dysfunction and failure (severe sepsis) and then to potentially fatal septic shock.
- Fever and shaking chills
- Reduced mental alertness, sometimes with confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea in the presence of infection
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney or liver problems
What can we do to prevent sepsis? The following tips can help:
- Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can increase your chance of developing sepsis.
- Sepsis can develop quickly. The sooner it is diagnosed and treated, the better.
- The normal symptoms of an infection should not last longer than five days and a fever should be no higher than 102 or 103. If the fever exceeds 103 degrees with chills, confusion or difficulty breathing, the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately.
Reviewed by: John E. Morley, M.D..