by Debra Wood, RN
Blood poisoning is a serious, life-threatening infection. It spreads through the bloodstream.
Bacteria, viruses, and other germs are in the blood and don’t cause problems. Large numbers can cause the immune system to overreact. This can cause serious health problems such as organ failure.
Infections mainly start in the lungs, belly, or urinary tract.
The chances of blood poisoning are higher in people who have problems with their immune system. This can happen from:
Early symptoms depend on where the infection started. An infection that gets worse may lead to:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will have:
Your healthcare team will try to find where the infection started. You may need more tests.
Hospital care will start right away. It will focus on the type of infection you have. If you start care right away, you have a better chance of becoming healthy.
To lower your chances of blood poisoning, get care for infections right away. Call your doctor if you’re sick not getting better.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Public Health Agency of Canada
Sepsis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115805/Sepsis-in-adults . Updated March 20, 2018. Accessed May 18, 2018.
Sepsis in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T326289/Sepsis-in-children . Updated March 29, 2018. Accessed May 18, 2018.
Sepsis treatment in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated April 2, 2018. Accessed May 18, 2018.
Sepsis treatment in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated April 20, 2018. Accessed May 18, 2018.
10/6/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed... : Holland TL, Arnold C, et al. Clinical management of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia: a review. JAMA. 2014;312(13):1330-1341.
Last reviewed May 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 5/15/2018
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