SEPTICEMIA - Watsons Health


Septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning, is a serious bloodstream infection. It occurs when a bacterial infection in any part of the body (such as lungs or skin) enters the bloodstream. In this case, the bacteria and their toxins can be carried through the bloodstream to your entire body.

If septicemia is not treated, it may result to complications like sepsis. In sepsis, inflammation throughout the body occurs and causes blood clots and block oxygen from reaching vital organs. This may cause organ failure.

The most common initial symptoms are:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Rapid Heart Rate

More severe symptoms will begin to emerge as the septicemia progresses without proper treatment. These include the following:

  • Confusion or Inability to Think Clearly
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Red Dots that Appear on the Skin
  • Reduced Urine Volume
  • Inadequate Blood Flow (Shock)

Seek medical attention right away if you experience signs and symptoms of septicemia.


Knowing the exact cause of infection can be challenging for doctors. Hence, a variety of test is needed. The first thing that your doctor may do is ask your medical history and check the symptoms. The doctor may also look for signs of conditions that more commonly occur along with septicemia like pneumonia, meningitis, and cellulitis.

The doctor may want to perform tests on multiple types of fluids (urine, wound secretions and skin sores, respiratory secretions and blood) to help confirm a bacterial infection.

The doctor may check your cell and platelet counts and also order tests to analyze your blood clotting.

The doctor may also look at the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood if septicemia is causing you to have breathing issues.

If signs of infection are still uncertain, your doctor may order test to look more closely at specific organs and tissue, including:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • Ultrasound



Your treatment will basically depend on several factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Overall Health
  • Extent of your Condition
  • Tolerance for Certain Medications

Septicemia that has started to affect your organs or tissue function is a medical emergency.

Antibiotics are the typical initial treatment for this infection. This may help prevent complications while identifying the real cause of the infection.

You may also get fluids and other medications intravenously to maintain your blood pressure or to prevent blood clots from forming. Oxygen might be provided through a mask or ventilator if you experience breathing issues as a result of septicemia.

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