November 29, 2023
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What Are Symptoms of Septicemia? Causes & Risk factors

What is septicemia

One of the initial stage symptoms of septicemia is fever or sickness. Septicemia is a type of infection that develops when bacteria is found in your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. In this article, you will learn about the symptoms and causes of septicemia. It is more common in those at the hospital for checkups or experiencing medical conditions. Septicemia can lead to life-threatening and require immediate treatment at a hospital. If you do not receive treatment, septicemia may lead to sepsis. It may result in organ damage to your body. The treatment for septicemia depends on several factors, which will be discussed in this article.

What is septicemia? 

Septicemia is an infection that develops when germs enter the bloodstream from any part of your body, such as the kidneys, bladder, skin, and lungs. The germs are bacteria but may also be similar to viruses or fungi. The bacteria and their toxic substances can spread to the rest of your body through your bloodstream. Septicemia, previously known as blood poisoning. 

What is septicemia

Difference between Septicemia and sepsis  

Septicemia and sepsis do not show the same meaning, however, these are sometimes exchangeable with each other. When septicemia is left untreated, it leads to sepsis. Sepsis is more complicated than septicemia, which is the body’s response to the infection. It results in inflammation throughout your body that leads to difficulty in blood clots and stops the flow of oxygen toward the essential organs. It indicates an organ failure in your body. 

If you experience inflammation with extremely low blood pressure, this is known as septic shock, which is mostly very dangerous. 

Sepsis is one of the common causes of death for people with chronic conditions. People who carry these conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are more prone to develop infections that may result in sepsis. 

Causes of Septicemia 

Septicemia is generally developed due to an infection in another part of your body. Different types of bacteria may result in septicemia. The origin of bacterial infection mostly cannot be detectable.

Following are the common infections that may result in septicemia:

  • Kidney infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Lung infections 
  • Skin ulcers or other wounds
  • Abscessed tooth (a region of pus develops from bacterial infections in your gums)
  • Abdominal area infections
  • Presence of germs on the medical apparatus or equipment, including needles or surgical tools)

Your body generally can eliminate the small group of germs itself. When the germs spread to your body and grow rapidly, it can result in septicemia. 

Symptoms of Septicemia 

The symptoms of septicemia generally begin instantly. You may feel sickness in the initial stages of septicemia. Here are the frequent and common symptoms of septicemia include:

  • Fever
  • Increased or rapid heart rate
  • High rate of breathing
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Low blood pressure

You may have more extreme symptoms that start when septicemia continues to grow and become life-threatening when it does not receive treatment. 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion or difficulty thinking
  • The appearance of red spots on the skin
  • Decreased urine production
  • Shock
  • Insufficient blood flow

You can request an online appointment with a professional provider if you experience these signs and symptoms of septicemia. 

Symptoms of Septicemia

How to diagnose septicemia? 

A healthcare provider may face difficulty diagnosing and determining septicemia. You may need to order different tests, including physical exams, laboratory tests, and imaging tests.  

Physical exam

A doctor will ask about the symptoms and your medical and family history. Your provider will conduct a physical checkup to observe for:

  • High body temperature
  • Low body temperature
  • Reduction in blood pressure

A healthcare provider may also observe these conditions that often develop with septicemia, such as

Laboratory tests

You may need to take tests on different samples of fluids to check and confirm the presence of bacterial infection. The following are the fluids that may consider:

  • Blood
  • Urine
  • Wound secretions
  • Breath or respiratory secretions

A healthcare provider may want to see all cell levels and platelet counts. You may also need to order tests to observe blood clotting. When you experience breath problems due to septicemia, your doctor may also check oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. 

Imaging tests

The imaging test may be required if the signs and symptoms of infection are not evident. These tests include X-ray, CT scan, Ultrasound, and MRI to take a closer look at particular internal organs and tissue of your body. 

Risk factors for septicemia 

Septicemia may develop in any age group. If you are at the hospital or have ongoing surgery, you may have a high risk of septicemia. Most secondary infections may develop if you are present at the hospital.

Risk factors for septicemia

The risk factors for developing septicemia in people who have/are:

  • Diabetes
  • Older adults or babies
  • Extreme wounds or burns
  • Pregnant
  • Damaged or weakened immune systems due to HIV or cancer or specific medical treatment, such as chemotherapy or use of steroid injections)
  • Ongoing surgery at the hospital
  • Urinary or breathing catheters (tubes)
  • Specific health problems that include pneumonia, cirrhosis (long-term liver damage), or urinary tract infections

Complications of septicemia 

Septicemia includes a wide range of complications. These complications may become dangerous if they do not receive proper treatment on time or are left untreated. Following are the common complications of septicemia include:


Sepsis develops when your body gives an immune response to the infection. It results in inflammation in the rest of the body. The inflammation can lead to organ failure, which includes kidney or heart failure. You may have a high risk of sepsis with long-term conditions. It occurs because of a weakened immune system that indicates your body cannot prevent infection.

Septic shock

Another complication of septicemia is severe blood pressure drop. This condition is known as septic shock. Hazardous chemicals and toxic substances that come into the bloodstream through bacteria. It can lead to low blood flow and damage an organ or tissue. 

People who experience septic shock generally require an emergency room. Your doctors observe and provide treatment in the ICU (Intensive care unit). Some medications will help to increase your blood pressure. 

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is another complication of septicemia. ARDS can put you at risk of life danger that stops the flow of oxygen in your lungs from going into your blood. This condition often results in permanent lung damage. It may also result in brain damage that may lead to memory disorders. 

Treatment for septicemia 

If septicemia affects the body’s organs or the function of tissue, you may need a particular medical emergency at the hospital. The treatment for septicemia may vary with many factors, including

  • Age
  • The severity of your medical condition
  • Your general health
  • Your response for specific medications

Your healthcare provider may recommend antibiotics to get the cure for a bacterial infection that leads to septicemia. There is a very low possibility to determine the type of bacteria in less time. You may need to use broad-spectrum antibiotics as an initial treatment. These antibiotics help to protect against all different ranges of bacteria. You may need to take a specific antibiotic if your provider identifies the bacteria. 

You may also receive fluids and other medications through injections to keep your blood pressure within normal range or to resist blood clots from developing. If you have breathing issues due to septicemia, you may provide a ventilator to take the required oxygen for your blood tissues. 

Treatment for septicemia

Get an appointment for an online medical consultation with professional doctors to receive treatment for septicemia.

Prevention for septicemia  

The cause of septicemia is bacterial infections. You must consult a doctor if you have a high chance of developing a bacterial infection. When your provider treats bacterial infection in the initial stages by using antibiotics, this can help to stop bacteria from coming into your bloodstream.

Prevention for septicemia

You can prevent yourself from developing septicemia by considering the following:

  • Taking all required and recommended vaccinations
  • Eliminating any wounds from your skin and other parts
  • Do wash your hands daily
  • Following good care based on your health conditions with proper guidelines
  • Reduce smoking
  • Add a diet that contains rich-nutrient
  • Avoid those drugs that are not recommended by a doctor.
  • Do regular exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Control your diabetes if you are experiencing it. 
  • Keep your distance from those who are sick. 


Septicemia is an infection that occurs in any age group, specifically in those hospitalized (undergoing surgeries) or carrying medical conditions. It is a condition that needs proper and immediate treatment through antibiotics recommended by the healthcare provider. Different types of bacteria may result in septicemia. Researchers focus on identifying the best ways to diagnose septicemia earlier. If your provider can treat the bacterial infection as early as possible, the chance of developing septicemia reduces. You can schedule an online doctor appointment efficiently if you have the signs and symptoms of septicemia or sepsis after an infection or a recent surgery. 

At UmbrellaMD, We offer a wide range of the best telehealth services in the USA. We have professional experience working with certified professional doctors. Umbrella Health Care Systems create an instant online e-consultation for patients with the providers. We work on a cash-based service and provide a discount on online lab tests and other services.

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