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What is an infection in the blood?

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The medical term for a blood infection is sepsis or septicemia. It is also referred to as blood poisoning, states MedicineNet. Sepsis is a very serious medical condition that can lead to organ failure and death; when chemicals are released into the bloodstream as an immune response to ward off a bacterial infection, it causes inflammation throughout the body and sepsis is result, notes WebMD.

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The infection can begin in any area through which bacteria can enter, including a skin scrape, pressure ulcer or surgical wound. Infections can also be associated with medical conditions such as appendicitis or meningitis, states WebMD.

Some symptoms of sepsis are hypotension, fast heartbeat and chills, notes the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus. Treatment for sepsis involves giving the patient intravenous antibiotic, IV fluids and oxygen. When there is organ failure, this must also be treated.

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