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What is the medical definition of sepsis?

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Quick Answer

Sepsis is an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection. The chemicals released by the body to fight the infection cause widespread inflammation that leads to blood clots and leaky blood vessels. This deprives organs of the nutrients and oxygen needed to function properly, leading to septic shock.

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Full Answer

Anyone can get sepsis but it is more common in children, elderly, victims of severe burns and people with chronic illnesses. Symptoms of sepsis include fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, rash, and confusion and disorientation. To determine if a person has sepsis, doctors use blood tests to see if the white blood cell counts are at normal levels. To cure sepsis, doctors administer oxygen and intravenous fluids and also use respirators, dialysis and, when needed, surgery.

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