Sepsis is a serious condition where the body’s response to an infection is improper, potentially leading to organ dysfunction. Without prompt intervention, sepsis can escalate into septic shock, marked by a dangerous decrease in blood pressure that may harm vital organs like the lungs, kidneys, and liver, sometimes resulting in death. Timely treatment is vital to enhance the likelihood of survival.


Sepsis symptoms can include:

  • A change in mental condition.
  • Rapid, shallow respiration.
  • Perspiring without apparent cause.
  • Experience dizziness.
  • Shivering.
  • Symptoms specific to the type of infection, such as painful urination from a UTI or a cough that gets worse from pneumonia.

Symptoms of sepsis are non-specific and can vary from person to person. Sepsis may present differently in children than in adults.

Symptoms of septic shock

Sepsis can advance to septic shock, which is characterized by a severe drop in blood pressure. Progression to septic shock increases the risk of death. Symptoms of septic shock include:

  • Being unable to get to your feet.
  • Severe drowsiness or difficulty remaining awake.
  • Significant mental state shift, such as profound confusion.

Any infection has the potential to lead to sepsis. Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of sepsis or have an infection or wound that isn’t improving. Symptoms such as confusion or rapid breathing require emergency care.


Any infection, whether bacterial, viral, or fungal, can lead to sepsis. Common types of infections that often cause sepsis include:

  • Bloodstream.
  • The bladder, kidneys, and other urinary system components.
  • The digestive system.
  • Lung conditions like pneumonia.
  • Sites for catheters.
  • Burns or injuries.

Risk factors

Among the factors that increase the likelihood of an infection resulting in sepsis are:

  • Early life.
  • Individuals above 65.
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing cancer treatment or HIV/AIDS patients.
  • Individuals suffering from long-term illnesses such renal disease, diabetes, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • A disease for which corticosteroids, which can suppress the immune system, are necessary.
  • Intravenous catheters (IV catheters) and breathing tubes are examples of devices that are placed inside the body.
  • Antibiotic treatment within the last ninety days.
  • Extended hospital stays or admission to the intensive care unit.