Septicaemia, also known as blood poisoning, is an infection caused by large amounts of bacteria in the bloodstream. It is the body’s most extreme response to infection. Septicaemia is a life-threatening infection which affects thousands of people yearly. The death rate of patients with septicaemia is as high as 50%.
The body’s immune system keeps infection limited to one place. But when the immunity is weak or the bacterial load is greater than what the body’s immune system can curtail, infections can spread into the bloodstream. Septicaemia can be triggered by an infection in any part of the body including the pelvis, urinary tract, lungs, abdomen, skin and guts.
Septicaemia is not the same thing as Sepsis. While Septicaemia is the infection caused by a large number of bacteria in the bloodstream, Sepsis is the body’s reaction to the infection. Three microorganisms that most frequently develop into septicemia are Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
The causes of septicaemia are contaminated medical equipment, kidney infection, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, skin ulcers, abscessed tooth and so on.
The risk factors of septicaemia are young age (less than 1 year), old age (above 60 years), pregnancy, urinary catheter, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, genetics, long-term hospital admission, wounds, injuries, immunosuppression, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and medical ventilation.
The symptoms of septicaemia are dizziness, mental confusion, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, severe muscle pain, breathlessness, chest pain, high fever, photosensitivity, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, anxiety, coma and low blood pressure.
The complications of septicaemia are tissue damage, multiple organ failure and death.
Laboratory diagnoses of septicaemia are Blood, Urine and Wound Microscopy and Culture to detect infections in the body. Early diagnosis aids in proper treatment to prevent further complications from septicaemia.
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