Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a potentially deadly infection with signs and symptoms that include elevated heart rate, low or high temperature, rapid breathing and/or a white blood cell count that is too high or too low and has more than 10% band cells. Most cases of sepsis are caused by bacterial infections, and some cases are caused by fungal infections. Treatment requires hospitalization, IV antibiotics, and therapy to treat any organ dysfunction. Read more: Sepsis Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain. Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
Staphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth, inflammation, and pain. The most common cause of cellulitis is the bacteria staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chills. Antibiotics treat pneumonia, and the choice of the antibiotic depends upon the cause of the infection.
Group B Strep
Group B strep are bacteria called Streptococcus agalactiae that may sometimes cause infections both in a pregnant woman and her baby. Symptoms include fever, seizures, heart rate abnormalities, breathing problems, and fussiness. Intravenous antibiotics are used to treat group B strep infections.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars. Pericoronitis commonly occurs in teens or young people when the wisdom teeth erupt. Symptoms include pain, swelling, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty opening the mouth. Pericoronitis can be diagnosed by a dentist and is treated with pain medication. Severe cases may be treated with surgery.
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Medical shock is a life-threatening medical condition. There are several types of medical shock, including: septic shock, anaphylactic shock, cardiogenic shock, hypovolemic shock, and neurogenic shock. Causes of shock include: heart attack, heart failure, heavy bleeding (internal and external), infection, anaphylaxis, spinal cord injury, severe burns, chronic vomiting or diarrhea. Low blood pressure is the key sign of sock. Treatment is dependant upon the type of shock.
Internal bleeding occurs when an artery or vein is damaged and blood to escapes the circulatory system and collects inside the body. Internal bleeding can be caused by a variety of situations such as blunt trauma, deceleration trauma, medications, fractures, and spontaneous bleeding. Treatment of internal bleeding depends on the cause of the bleeding.
Pulmonary edema (swelling or fluid in the lungs) can either be caused by cardiogenic causes (congestive heart failure, heart attacks, abnormal heart valves) or noncardiogenic causes such as ARDS, kidney failure, high altitude, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, aspirin overdose, pulmonary embolism, and infections. The treatment of pulmonary edema depends on the cause of the condition.
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus infection, cigarette smoking, GERD, postnasal drip, bronchitis, pneumonia, medications, and less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Gallstones are stones that form when substances in the bile harden. Gallstones (formed in the gallbladder) can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. There can be just one large stone, hundreds of tiny stones, or any combination. The majority of gallstones do not cause signs or symptoms; however, when they do occur the primary sign is biliary colic. Symptoms of biliary colic are constant pain for 15 minutes to 4-5 hours, and it may vary in intensity; nausea, severe pain that does not worsen with movement; and pain beneath the sternum. Treatment of gallstones depends upon the patient and the clinical situation.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria causes skin infections with the following signs and symptoms: cellulitis, abscesses, carbuncles, impetigo, styes, and boils. Normal skin tissue doesn't usually allow MRSA infection to develop. Individuals with depressed immune systems and people with cuts, abrasions, or chronic skin disease are more susceptible to MRSA infection.
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
Gastroparesis is a medical condition in which the muscle of the stomach is paralyzed by a disease of either the stomach muscle itself or the nerves controlling the muscle. As a consequence, food and secretions do not empty normally from the stomach. Gastroparesis symptoms are nausea and vomiting; abdominal bloating, and pain can result.
Hydronephrosis describes swelling of the kidney resulting from the inability of urine to drain from the kidney into the bladder. This may be a normal variant or it may be due to an underlying illness or medical condition. Symptoms of acute hydronephrosis may include: intense flank or back pain radiating to the groin, nausea, vomiting, bloody urine, sweating, and colicky pain, which may cause the person to writhe or roll around or pace in pain.
Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Bladder infection is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria or, rarely, by Candida. Certain people, including females, the elderly, men with enlarged prostates, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for bladder infection. Bladder infections are treated with antibiotics, but cranberry products and adequate hydration may help prevent bladder infections.
Lymphedema is a condition in which one or more extremities become swollen as the result of an impaired flow of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema worldwide. In the U.S., breast cancer surgery is the most common cause. Symptoms include swelling of one or more limbs, cracked and thickening skin, and secondary bacterial or fungal infections of the skin. There is no cure for lymphedema.
Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein. Thrombophlebitis is when a blood clot causes the inflammation. Phlebitis can be superficial or deeper in the veins. A blood clot deep in a vein is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Some of the common causes of phlebitis include prolonged inactivity, varicose veins, trauma to a vein, underlying cancers, clotting disorders, and other causes. Symptoms of phlebitis may be mild (pain, tenderness, redness, or bulging of a vein. Treatment of phlebitis depends on the cause.
Gangrene may result when blood flow to a tissue is lost or not adequate to keep the tissue alive. There are two types of gangrene: wet and dry. All cases of wet gangrene are infected by bacteria. Most cases of dry gangrene are not infected. If wet gangrene goes untreated, the patient may die of sepsis within hours or days. Dry gangrene usually doesn't cause the patient to die. Symptoms of dry gangrene include numbness, discoloration, and mummification of the affected tissue. Wet gangrene symptoms include swelling, pain, pus, bad smell, and black appearance of the affected tissue. Treatment depends upon the type of gangrene and how much tissue is compromised by the gangrene.
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third-degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
Peritonitis is a bacterial infection inside of the abdomen. Some doctors choose to group the causes of peritonitis into five categories; 1) primary peritonitis, 2) secondary peritonitis, 3) tertiary peritonitis, 4) chemical (sterile) peritonitis, and 5) peritoneal abscess. Others do not categorize peritonitis, they use a term to describe the disease in front or behind the word peritonitis. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment is generally with antibiotics.
E. coli (0157:H7) Infection
There are many types of E. coli (Escherichia coli). E. coli can cause urinary tract and bladder infections, or lead to sepsis. E coli O157:H7 (EHEC) causes bloody diarrhea and colitis. Complications of E. coli infection include hemorrhagic diarrhea, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. E coli O157:H7 commonly is due to eating raw or undercooked hamburger or raw milk or dairy products.
Hyothermia or extreme exposure to cold can be classified as either accidental hypothermia (unintentional cold exposure) and intentional hypothermia (generally induced for a medical procedure). Hypothermia is caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Risk factors for hypothermia include cold exposure and/or certain medical conditions. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering; increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure; apathy, confusion, slurred speech, no reflexes, and dilated pupils. Medical attention is generally necessary to treat hypothermia.
Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is typically caused by the consumption of contaminated foods. Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Salmonellosis typically resolves on its own in four to seven days. It's important to increase one's fluid intake to compensate for the fluid lost by vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the person has seizures. There are two kinds of seizures, focal and generalized. There are many causes of epilepsy. Treatment of epilepsy (seizures) depends upon the cause and type of seizures experienced.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. Potential causes include injections around the bone, fractures that puncture the skin, recent surgeries, and bacterial infections that travel from other areas of the body, spreading through the blood to the bone. Symptoms include pain, fever, chills, stiffness, and nausea. Treatment involves antibiotics and pain medications. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with a sandpaper-like texture, and sore throat. Oral penicillin is the standard treatment for scarlet fever, or scarlatina.
ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome)
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a lung condition in which trauma to the lungs leads to inflammation of the lungs, accumulation of fluid in the alveolar air sacs, low blood oxygen, and respiratory distress. ARDS can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms of are shortness of breath and low levels of oxygen in the blood, which can cause your organs to fail. Causes of ARDS include: Pneumonia Aspiration into the lungs Severe blow to the chest Sepsis Severe injury with shock Drug overdose Inflamed pancreas Other lung conditions and infections Burns Sepsis Near drowning Fractures There have been genetic factors linked to ARDS. Treatment for includes supplemental oxygen, and/or medication. According to some studies, survival rates for ARDS depend upon the cause associated with it, but can vary from 48% to 68%.REFERENCES: Harman, EM, MD. "Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Clinical Presentation." Medscape. Updated: Aug 11, 2016. Harman, EM, MD. "Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome." Medscape. Updated: Aug 11, 2016. PubMed Health. "ARDS." Updated: Jun 11, 2014. Reynolds, HN. et al. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: estimated incidence and mortality rate in a 5 million-person population base. Crit Care. 1998; 2(1): 29–34. Published online 1998 Mar 12. doi: 10.1186/cc121
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized. Patients at risk for VRE are those who are already ill, and hospitalized, including individuals with diabetes, elderly, ICU patients, kidney failure patients, or patients requiring catheters. Enterococci can survive for months in the digestive tract and female genital tract. Other risk factors for acquiring VRE include those how have been previously treated with vancomycin and combinations of other antibiotics. Treatment of VRE is generally with other antibiotics other than vancomycin. Prevention of VRE can be achieved by proper hand hygiene.
Necrotizing fasciitis is also known as a flesh-eating bacterial infection, Fournier's gangrene, suppurative fasciitis, and necrotizing cellulitis. The disease is occasionally caused by fungi, but most cases are caused by bacteria that enter the skin through insect bites, cuts, puncture wounds, or surgical incisions. Signs and symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, fever, chills, skin ulceration, bullae formation, black scabs, gas formation, and fluid draining from the site of infection. Treatment involves hospitalization, the use of intravenous antibiotics, and debridement of the necrotic tissue.
Newborn Jaundice (Neonatal Jaundice)
Jaundice in newborns and babies (neonatal jaundice) usually occurs because of a normal increase in red blood cell breakdown and the fact that their immature livers are not efficient at removing bilirubin from the bloodstream. Symptoms of jaundice are fever, poor feeding, and looking ill. Newborn jaundice is very common and is caused because the newborns liver isn’t mature enough to remove bilirubin from the blood. Treatment of jaundice in newborns include phototherapy, tanning booths, and other treatments.
Meningococcemia (Meningococcal Disease)
Meningococcemia is a bloodstream infection caused by Neisseria meningitides. Meningococcemia symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. Meningococcemia is treated with intravenous antibiotics. There is an effective and safe vaccine to protect against most serogroups of meningococcus that cause meningococcemia.
CRE Bacteria Infection
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is a type of bacteria that is highly resistant to antibiotics. Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Klebsiella are common types of Enterobacteriaceae that can be found in the human intestines. However, these bacteria can cause infections if they escape the intestines. Carbapenems are broad-spectrum antibiotics that treat infections caused by bacteria that are highly resistant to other types of antibiotics.
Candida auris (C. auris)
Candida auris (C. auris) is a yeast that is resistant to many antifungal medications. Most C. auris infections occur in hospitalized patients. C. auris causes an invasive infection and has a high mortality rate.
Is Sepsis Contagious?
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening infection that may be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites. Sepsis spreads within the body from the infection site. Treatment of sepsis typically involves the administration of intravenous medications.
Septic shock is a system-wide infection that causes low blood pressure and organ failure. Symptoms and signs include vomiting, nausea, anxiety, confusion, fever, shakes, chills, rapid heart rate, and increased breathing rate. Treatment may incorporate intravenous fluids and antibiotics and possible intubation.
The bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus is common in the mouths of cats, people, and dogs. People with weak immune systems are at risk for contracting Capnocytophaga infections. Antibiotics can kill this bacteria.
Snake Bite (Snake Bite)
There are venomous (poisonous) and nonvenomous (nonpoisonous) snakes. A venomous snake bite penetrates the skin and injects, secretes, or spits a toxin into the penetrated wound. Symptoms of a venomous snake bite include: redness at the site of the bite, swelling at the site of the bite, severe pain at the site of the bite, nausea and vomiting labored breathing disturbed vision increased sweating and salivation, and numbness or tingling in the face or arms and legs. Treatment of a venomous snake is a medical emergency, and the person that has been bitten needs to be taken to an emergency department or other emergent care facility as soon as possible.
Is Salmonella Contagious?
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause a variety of diseases. Salmonella can be transmitted via direct and indirect contact. Salmonellosis typically lasts for 3-5 days and resolves on its own. Supportive care to prevent dehydration due to nausea and vomiting is usually the only treatment.
Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. Though most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild, some reactions may be life-threatening. Preventing bug bites and stings with insect repellant, wearing the proper protective attire, and not wearing heavily scented perfumes when in grassy, wooded, and brushy areas is key.
NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) is an enzyme produced by certain strains of bacteria that have recently acquired the genetic ability to make this compound. Bacteria that produce NDM-1 are resistant to all commonly used beta-lactam antibiotics. Klebsiella, Escherichia and Acinetobacter are known to possess the gene for NDM-1, which can turn these bacteria into superbugs. Symptoms and signs of NDM-1 infection include fever, fatigue, and shock. Treatment depends upon the NDM-1 strain.
What Are the Warning Signs of Sepsis?
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening reaction of the body to an infection. Learn more about sepsis, the warning signs and symptoms, how doctors diagnose sepsis, and your treatment options.
What Happens When Your Body Goes Into Septic Shock?
Septic shock is a life-threatening condition. Learn what septic shock is, how doctors diagnose septic shock, septic shock signs, and what is done to treat septic shock.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)
- Fatigue, Tiredness, and Lethargy
- Pale Skin
- Low Urine Output
- Altered Mental Status
- Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Neonatal Jaundice
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- A Dangerous Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Lurks in U.S. Water, Soil
- Color-Changing Bandage Identifies and Treats Infections
- Sepsis Causes Far More Deaths Worldwide Than Thought
- Inducing Labor Safer Bet for Late-Term Pregnancies: Study
- Fecal Transplants Better Than Antibiotics in Preventing C. Diff Infection Complications
- Could Vitamin C Infusions Save Patients With Sepsis?
- Health Threats Don't End for Some Sepsis Survivors
- Dangerous UTIs Can Follow Hospital Patients Home
- Med Students' Smartphones Loaded With Staph, Other Germs
- Routine Use of Antibiotics May Help After Complicated Vaginal Birth: Study
- Health Tip: Protect Yourself From Sepsis
- Staph Infections Drop, but Levels Still Worry U.S. Health Officials
- Seniors With UTIs Need Antibiotics ASAP, Study Says
- Fertility Treatments Tied to Higher Odds for Pregnancy Complications
- Is Kidney Dialysis Always Needed When Septic Shock Strikes?
- Severe Infections Rising Among Americans With Diabetes
- Blood Infection Sepsis Tied to Heart Attack, Stroke
- Large Rise Seen in Serious Birth Complications in U.S.
- New Hope in Saving Kids From Blood Infection Sepsis
- Health Tip: Recognizing Sepsis
- 3 Factors That Could Raise Your Risk of Bloodstream Infection
- Heart Risk Up if Hospitalized for Pneumonia or Sepsis
- Hospital Protocol Helps Thwart Serious Infection
- Overcrowded ERs Risky for Some Seriously Ill Patients
- Far Fewer Kids Are Dying Worldwide, but Gains Are Uneven
- Infections More Common in People With Schizophrenia
- 'Eraser Challenge' Latest Harmful Social Media Trend for Kids
- Rude, Disrespectful Surgeons May Also Be More Error-Prone: Study
- Research on U.S. Gun Violence Still a Low Priority, Study Finds
- Nearly 2 Million Lbs of Chicken Recalled
- Anti-Inflammatory Agent in Cord Blood Shows Promise in Mice
- FDA Approves New Biological Drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Patients May Quickly Lose Beneficial Gut Bacteria in the ICU
- Fast Action Can Prevent Sepsis Death: CDC
- A New Antibiotic to the Rescue?
- Top 5 Costly Inpatient Conditions for Hospitals
- Skin-to-Skin Contact May Lower Preemies' Risk of Death: Review
- Extreme Exercising Can Lead to Blood Poisoning, Study Reveals
- Recent Hospitalization Might Raise Blood Infection Risk, Study Says
- Researchers Hone in on Genes Linked to Serious Blood Infection
- Simpler Antibiotic Regimen Helps Sick Babies in Developing Nations
- Hospitalizations After Severe Blood Infections May Be Preventable
- Heat Stroke, Kidney Failure Help Drive Illnesses From Extreme Heat
- Bed Position Matters for Stroke Patients, Report Shows
- FDA Approves New Vaccine to Protect Against Meningitis
- CDC: 4 People With Enterovirus D68 Have Died
- Long ICU Stays May Alter Gut Microbes
- 'Biospleen' Suggests New Way to Treat Blood Infection
- Better Survival From Blood Infections at High-Volume Hospitals
- Obese More Likely to Survive Serious Bloodstream Infection
- Some Home Tattoo Kits Recalled Due to Infection Risk
- With ERs, the Busier, the Better, Study Finds
- Blood Infections Play Role in Up to Half of Hospital Deaths: Study
- Injuries From Swallowed Magnets on the Rise in Kids, Study Finds
- Many Hospitals Ineffectively Treat Bloodstream Infections, Study Suggests
- E. Coli 'Superbug' May Pose Major Health Threat: Study
- Severe Blood Infections During Childbirth on Rise in U.S. Women
- Health Tip: Chickenpox May Lead to Complications
- Protecting Lungs During Abdominal Surgery May Decrease Complications
- Lullabies Soothe Preemies, Parents Alike
- Complications From Kidney Stone Surgery Rising, Study Finds
- Stress Disorder May Be Common Among ICU Patients on Ventilators
- Multiple Tests Needed to Spot Infections in Newborns: Study
- Fraudulent Data May Have Led to Use of Risky Treatment in ICUs
- Scientists Explore How Zinc Fights Off Infection
- Which Hospital Patients Need Drugs to Prevent Gastrointestinal Bleeding?
- Swallowed Toothpicks Can Lead to Big Trouble, Experts Warn
- Health Tip: Do I Need the Meningococcal Vaccine?
- Reported Decline in U.S. Pneumonia Deaths May Be False: Study
- Hospitals Ranked for Emergency Medicine Quality
- New Meningitis Vaccine Works in Infants: Study
- Antibiotics in Pregnancy May Shield Newborns From Strep B
- Severe Sepsis Can Harm the Immune System
- Health Highlights: Oct. 26, 2011
- FDA: Osteoporosis Drug Reclast Ups Kidney Failure Risk
- Screening for Sepsis Could Save Lives, Researchers Say
- Hospital-Acquired Sepsis, Pneumonia a 'Growing Menace'
- Two Sepsis Treatments Look Equally Effective
- Intensive Insulin Therapy Won't Boost Septic Shock Survival
- Adding Fish Oil to IV May Speed Sepsis Recovery
- Standard Septic Shock Treatments Ineffective
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