What is Septicemia?

Septicemia or blood poisoning is a term used to describe the condition of bacteria that have entered the bloodstream. If treated quickly, your chance of a permanent adverse reaction is lower. But, blood poisoning can turn deadly if the signs and symptoms are not noticed.

What Does It Mean to Be “Septic”?

A person who is septic has an infection in their body that has gone unnoticed. At the beginning of an infection, the symptoms can be mistaken for a common cold or even the beginnings of the flu. It may ring a few bells if the person has had a surgical procedure before the infection showed up.

Bacteria are not normally in the bloodstream. There are different conditions that bring about the introduction of bacteria into the body. One is surgery. The skin is cut intentionally to repair something inside of the body. The patient is sewn up but until the wound begins to heal, the inner tissues of the body are susceptible to a bacterial infection.

Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream through the mucus membranes. That means your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin and lungs. Usually when the body is breached by an invader, the white blood cells get the troops together and come to your aid. That is why when you do a blood test, you will notice a spike in the white blood count.

Sometimes the infection can overpower the immune system and that can lead to blood poisoning. Here are some of the symptoms of septicemia.

* A high or low body temperature (fever or hypothermia)
* Fast heart beat
* Shallow, increased breathing
* Higher than normal white blood cell count
* Lack of urine production
* Coughing

The main difference between the onset of a cold and septicemia is that the symptoms often come on suddenly. With a cold, the symptoms are gradual, come to a peak and then taper off as the body fights the infection. With blood poisoning, the symptoms continue to get worse. The other difference is that a cold is caused by a strain of the rhinovirus. Most cases of sepsis are caused by bacteria (and sometimes a fungal infection).

Treatment for Blood Poisoning

How early the blood poisoning is caught can determine your survival rate and the efficacy of the treatment. The main treatment for it is antibiotics. The bacteria that usually enter the blood consist of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Streptococcus and P. aeruginosa. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria identified in blood testing.

Septicemia or blood poisoning is a condition where the blood has been flooded with bacteria. If caught early it can be treated rather easily. The longer you go without treatment, the more problems can result for your body.