Can your body fight off sepsis?
Blood poisoning (sepsis) - react quickly and correctly
Blood poisoning (medical: sepsis) is an often underestimated and unrecognized danger. The body defends itself against infection and damages its own organs and tissues in the process. Sepsis is an emergency - acting quickly is vital. Therefore, you should be aware of possible signs and have a suspected sepsis clarified immediately in a hospital.
Any infection in the body can cause sepsis. The causes are not just external injuries, but much more often infections that develop inside, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections or inflammation of the abdominal cavity. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk. People without a spleen are also at risk, as this organ normally takes on an important function in the bloodstream and in the body's own defense system.
If you have sepsis, you will feel extremely sick. Sometimes you don't know that you have an infection in your body. If several of the following signs appear, this could indicate sepsis:
- Fever or hypothermia, chills
- sudden drowsiness, confusion, restlessness
- fast heartbeat, increased pulse
- low blood pressure
- rapid, heavy breathing, shortness of breath
- (Muscle pain
- discolored or blotchy skin
- Dehydration, no urination
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
Without prompt and correct treatment, sepsis is fatal. Talk to your doctor directly if you discover any signs. Sepsis should be treated immediately in hospital, as intensive care is often required. The doctor will do a blood test to check for sepsis and determine the cause of the infection. He will try to treat the source of infection with antibiotics or to remove it with an operation (e.g. if the gallbladder or appendix is inflamed) The earlier sepsis is discovered and treated, the better the chances of recovery. However, long-term effects cannot be ruled out - the extent of which depends largely on the time at which treatment is started.
There is no vaccination against sepsis itself, but there is against some infections. Pneumococcal and flu vaccinations play an important role in sepsis prevention. Pneumococci are bacteria that can cause pneumonia, for example. The vaccination is recommended for young children and people aged 60 and over. Influenza is also an infection for which a vaccine that is adapted annually is available. In addition, you can prevent infection and thus sepsis through hygiene measures such as frequent and correct hand washing.
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