Quick action in case of blood poisoning

Quick diagnosis: With blood poisoning, there is no time to waste

The third leading cause of death in Germany in blood poisoning (sepsis). It is important to correctly interpret the first signals, because every third affected person dies of sepsis. Up to 150,000 people fall ill each year, and around 60,000 do not survive the disease. We show which symptoms can indicate blood poisoning.

It is not always apparent at first glance whether there is blood poisoning. The first symptoms of sepsis include confusion and mental changes. Because the brain is the first organ to be affected, explains Prof. Dr. Konrad Reinhart from the Jena University Hospital. Other signs of blood poisoning may include breathing problems and the first signs of circulatory failure. Many patients also report flu-like symptoms such as fever, weakness and rapid heartbeat. In the case of blood poisoning, the person affected quickly feels seriously ill and the general condition deteriorates rapidly. Quick help is needed because the mortality rate increases between seven and eight percent every hour.

Red skin often not present Most people assume that sepsis is indicated by a red line that runs to the heart. The same red streak on the skin is less common. According to the doctor, this only indicates that an inflammatory process is taking place in the lymphatic system.

Numerous blood poisonings happen during hospital treatment. There is an increased risk during an invasive procedure or through the life of catheters and breathing tubes. Blood poisoning, known as nosocomial sepsis (Greek: nosokomeion = hospital), represents the largest proportion of septic forms of disease. Sepsis often arises as a complication of pneumonia. Another risk factor is a weak immune system. Nevertheless, blood poisoning from small cuts and burns can also occur in otherwise completely healthy people.

Sepsis occurs when germs enter the organism through open wounds. This leads to an inflammatory process. If the wound is not cleaned or treated, bacteria can spread throughout the body through the bloodstream and affect all organs. The oxygen supply to the organs affected can deteriorate considerably. As a result, the body can no longer keep vital organs going. This can lead to a total circuit breakdown in just a few hours. The lungs, kidneys, liver and heart can all gradually fail.

Increased risk for the elderly and children
There is a particular danger for older people over 60, small children and patients without a spleen, reports the intensive care physician, who wants to investigate sepsis more closely by means of a foundation. According to Reinhart, the risk can be reduced, for example, by vaccination against pneumococci. Doing so could prevent dozens of deaths. In addition, hygiene in the healthcare system must be improved. (sb)

Also read:
High health risk from blood poisoning
Pathogenic fungi common cause of blood poisoning
Inflammation of the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes

Photo credit: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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