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Septicemia is a serious and dangerous blood infection. The condition is typically brought about by a bacterial infection but fungi and other organisms can also cause systemic infection of the bloodstream.

It is important to note that septicemia typically originates from an infection in a different body part that progresses to the dangerous accumulation of bacteria in the bloodstream. The usual areas that become infected and progress to septicemia include the lungs, abdomen, bone, urinary tract, heart and central nervous system.

Once septicemia sets in, the condition of the individual declines rapidly. The initial symptoms include rapid pulse, chills, rapid breathing and high fever that abruptly manifests. This can lead to shock and sudden drop in the blood pressure along with confusion and other mental changes.

What are the indications?

The initial symptoms include rapid pulse, chills, rapid breathing and high fever that abruptly manifests.

The indications of septicemia can be quite serious and progress as the infection develops in the bloodstream.

Early symptoms

  • Increased sweating
  • Fever and chills
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Abrupt high fever

Progressing symptoms

  • Diminished urine output
  • Changes in the mental status
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty in staying upright
  • Red-colored spots on the skin
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness

Risk factors

There are various factors that increases the risk for developing septicemia such as:

  • Close exposure to an infected individual
  • Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria
  • Young age or the elderly
  • Localized infections
  • Complicated labor and delivery
  • Compromised or weakened immune system due to cancer chemotherapy or AIDS
  • Presence of indwelling catheters


The treatment involves hospitalization, usually in an intensive care unit where intravenous fluids and medications are given.

Antibiotics are given to fight off the infection along with supplemental oxygen, plasma or other blood products to assist with blood-clotting issues and other irregularities. A ventilator or hemodialysis might also be needed.

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