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Sepsis: the Basics

Sepsis is a bad reaction to an infection. Your body reacts by sending a flood of chemicals into your bloodstream to fight the threats. This causes widespread inflammation, which, overtime, can slow blood flow and damage your organs; it can be life threatening if it moves to its later stage.



If you have sepsis, you already have serious infection. Early symptoms include fever and feeling unwell, faint, weak, or confused. You may notice your heart rate and breathing are faster than usual.

Who gets sepsis?

It’s most common among the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and babies less than 3 months old.


How do you get it?

You cannot get sepsis from someone else. Sepsis happens inside your body, when an existing infection – in your skin, lungs, or urinary tract – spreads causing an immune system response that affects other organs or systems. Most infections don’t lead to sepsis.


Early, aggressive treatment of sepsis is best.  You may be admitted to a monitored bed or most likely go to the ICU.  Your doctor will start you on antibiotics to fight the infection. You’ll also get IV fluids, oxygen, and medicine to keep your blood pressure from falling and to support your body.

After sepsis

People with sepsis can fully recover, though they may be more likely to get it again.  Whether there are lasting effects depends in part on your age, whether you have a long-term disease, or how quickly you get treatment for sepsis.

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