What is the Treatment for Septicemia?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 May 2018
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Septicemia is an extremely serious medical condition resulting when bacteria or bacterial products enter the blood stream and begin to have effect on the whole body. It’s easy to say that bacteria enter the blood stream, but actually this occurs regularly and the body fights it off. When full infection is present, the body’s ability to fight germs is not an adequate treatment and early medical intervention is the best possible hope for cure, as bacteria or more rarely fungi or viruses flood the bloodstream.

A person with septicemia might have high fever, chills, rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing. These are warning signs the condition may be present. It may show up after a virus or other type of infection, when someone has had a skin puncture injury, or sometimes when people are in the hospital being treated for other things. Untreated, the body may go into septic shock, and this means the organs don’t get adequate blood. In the regular population, septic shock has a 5% death rate and up to a 50% death rate among those who are immuno-compromised or severely ill from other causes.

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Treatment for septicemia is thus absolutely necessary, and it usually involves several things. When bacteria is the cause, the treatment is antibiotics administered intravenously, which means they arrive immediately in the bloodstream, and don’t need to first past through the gastrointestinal tract. Due to high fever and other symptoms, people are often given fluids too. Remaining in the hospital during the first few days, at least, is likely because of the chance of septic shock. People will need to have their vital signs monitored and doctors will also perform tests to make certain the treatment for septicemia is working.

Sometimes it’s necessary to use a combination of antibiotics or to switch antibiotics if a patient isn’t responding well to the medications. In addition to fluids and medicines part of the treatment for septicemia may also involve respiratory support. The rapid breathing that can accompany this condition can fail to adequately supply oxygen to the body and may stress the lungs. Patients might need either oxygen or intubation with oxygen, depending upon how severe the case is.

One thing that may occur in many cases of this illness is abnormal bleeding or clotting. This is often observable directly under the skin. The treatment for septicemia blood problems may include blood transfusions or platelet transfusions. These may normalize blood levels so that massive internal bleeding does not occur.

Most people would rather prevent than treat septicemia. There are certain viruses that have caused it that can be prevented through vaccination. In particular the Haemophilus Influenza B vaccination, which is now part of standard immunization recommendations for kids did cause cases of septicemia, and vaccinations have helped reduce this. Other than that, people should be advised to follow good first aid protocol when they get any types of cuts, and simply watch for the symptoms particularly if they’ve recently been ill. Unfortunately, even with good care, not all cases are preventable, and the condition is still a grave one.

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Discuss this Article

anon345508
Post 5

Thank you for this article. It explained what was "so important" when she was recently hospitalized. Unlike others in this article, being 15, she was able to "fight" the bacteria. The reason for my comment is that the medical issue was "dismissed" by the medical facility.

However, in the state, the other health professionals must "police" themselves and they did by contacting my state health department. If you are ignored, just go somewhere else and do not listen to "it can wait." Sorry for your loss and will keep you in our prayers.

anon313868
Post 4

My husband just passed away from this. He was only 54 years old. He first complained and thought he had the flu. One week later we had to rush him to the ER. and a day and a half later, he was gone. The hospital staff was fantastic, leaving no stone unturned when they were treating him. This is just a crazy, fast moving killer. I had no idea about this before this happened to him. I can't believe that one day he was talking to us and the next, he was gone.

anon275235
Post 3

The same thing happened to my father. Septecemia is but a killer. In his case, the hospital couldn't do much either. He was 63 years old.

anon101218
Post 1

My father, 65 years old, had surgery recently for CABG and MVR at S.K. Soni Hospital in Jaipur. He died 19 days after surgery due to septecemia C. Isn't this from the total carelessness of the hospital?

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