Every year it is estimated that over 1.7 million people contract a hospital acquired infection. Of the people who contract one of these infections, there are about 99,000 deaths. There are many types of hospital acquired infection, but the most major type is a blood infection.
There are as many as 750,000 people infected with sepsis every year in the United States. Sepsis is a bacterial blood infection. Of the patients admitted to healthcare facilities about two percent will contract this type of infection. Sepsis occurs when the immune system attempts to respond to an infection. However, the chemicals in the blood that are supposed to fight the infection will instead cause inflammation throughout the patient’s body. This can be very serious and can affect and damage the body’s organs. As a result of the inflammation, the blood can clot when it should not, making it difficult for the body to receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients. In the worst cases, septic shock can occur. Once this occurs organs will start to fail.
Causes of Sepsis
Lacerations on the skin, catheters, or IVs can be areas where the bacteria that cause sepsis can enter the body. How the bacteria can enter the body and the bacteria itself can be found in hospitals. Some patients are more susceptible to contracting sepsis then other. Such people include those with weak immune systems, the elderly, and infants.
The common symptoms for sepsis include:
- Decrease in urination
- Fever or low body temperature
- Rapid pulse and breathing
It is important that medical professionals act quickly so the bacteria can be killed as quickly as possible, giving patients the best chance of recovery. Testing the blood for bacteria or administering an X-ray or CT scan can help medical professionals to determine whether the patient has contracted the bacteria that causes sepsis. Once it is determined that a patient has sepsis then treatment can start.
The administration of antibiotics can kill the bacteria. To regulate the patient’s blood pressure, an IV should be administered to give the patient fluid. It may be necessary to administer oxygen as well. When the case of sepsis is serious, surgery may be required to clean the infection area. Sepsis can be fatal up to 20 percent of the time. Patients who do survive are often left with organ damage that is permanent.
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