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What is blood poisoning?

Blood poisoning is a nonspecific term used mainly by nonmedical individuals that describes, in the broadest sense, any adverse medical condition(s) due to the presence of any toxic agent in the blood. Usually, the layperson using the term blood poisoning is referring to the medical condition(s) that arise when bacteria or their products (or both) reach the blood. Blood poisoning is not a medical term and does not appear in many medical dictionaries or scientific publications. However, when it is used, the correct medical term that most closely matches its intended meaning is sepsis. Many medical authors consider the terms blood poisoning and sepsis to be interchangeable, but the trend in the medical literature is to use the term sepsis.

Return to Sepsis

See what others are saying

Comment from: SFS leader, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 11

I had sepsis twice. The first time I was 11, and was bitten by a rabid dog, and apparently got her fleas on me; which then bit me, and I scratched at the bites so bad that somehow it spread to my bloodstream. I had a massive fever, very bad headaches, and grogginess. They took me to the emergency room. I got some shot and I got better over time. My second time of blood poisoning, I was getting my pre-hydration for chemotherapy and my port wasn't cooperating and I started being symptomatic as I returned to the hotel I was staying at. I had insomnia, severe headaches, and a very low core temperature. I had to go back to the hospital, and I don't know what happened next because I fainted.

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Comment from: Jenniferliz, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

A friend of mine I was living with who was a caregiver noticed a red streak going from my foot up my leg and immediately told me I had blood poisoning. She gave me an old home remedy to use until I was able to make it to hospital in the morning. I was 5 months pregnant at the time.

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Comment from: Big d, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 31

I was admitted to the hospital for an angiogram. In the process of inserting the catheter my body was infected. I was transferred from the regional hospital to the larger central hospital. I spent the next four days in and out of consciousness. When I was awake I was fighting with the male nurse and telling the kids to go out and locate blue cars. They were seven and ten. I eventually had a quadruple bypass and was in the hospital for 30 days. One bright spot was that I got to see Tombstone about 50 times.

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