What are the symptoms of septicemia?

Symptoms of septicemia are very serious and progress as the infection develops in the bloodstream.

Early symptoms of septicemia

Early symptoms of septicemia include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Perspiration
  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea) or shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Sudden high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

Progressing symptoms of septicemia

As septicemia progresses, symptoms increase in severity and include:

  • Changes in mental status
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment 
  • Decreased urine production
  • Orthostasis (inability to remain upright)
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Red spots on the skin (petechiae and ecchymosis)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, septicemia can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Changes in mental status
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment
  • Fever and chills
  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea) or shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Sudden high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

INTRODUCTION

What is septicemia?

Septicemia is a serious and even life-threatening infection of the blood. Usually it is caused by bacterial infection, but fungi and other organisms also cause this widespread infection of the bloodstream. “Bacteremia” is another term that denotes the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. Symptoms are related to the chemicals produced during the body’s immune response to the massive infectio... Read more about septicemiaintroduction

CAUSES

What causes septicemia?

Septicemia occurs when an infection in any part of your body spreads to the bloodstream.

Common areas of infection that lead to septicemia include the abdomen, lungs, urinary tract, bone (osteomyelitis), central nervous system (meningitis) and heart (endocarditis).

What are the risk factors for septicemia?

A number of factors increase the risk of developin... Read more about septicemiacauses

TREATMENTS

How is septicemia treated?

Treatment of septicemia requires hospitalization, typically in the intensive care unit (ICU), where you will be given fluids and medications intravenously. You will receive antibiotics to fight the infection, as well as supplemental oxygen, plasma or other blood products to help with blood-clotting problems and other abnormalities. Resp... Read more about septicemiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.