Chills, a high body temperature and fast breathing that may be accompanied by a fast heart rate are early signs of a bacterial blood infection, or septicemia, states Healthline. People with septicemia may also experience confusion, red dots on the skin, reduced urine output and inadequate blood flow.
Bacterial infections that start in another part of the body and spread into the blood are the root cause of septicemia, notes Healthline. Symptoms of a bacterial blood infection present immediately, and the condition can progress into a more serious medical problem or become fatal if not treated promptly. Doctors diagnose septicemia through physical examinations and blood tests to measure cell and platelet counts, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, and blood clotting. Doctors may also perform urine or skin cultures to confirm a diagnosis of septicemia.
People suffering from septicemia require emergency care in a hospital setting, where possible treatments include antibiotics to treat the blood infection as well as administration of fluids and medications to prevent blood clots and maintain blood pressure, states Healthline. Patients who have difficulty breathing may also receive oxygen therapy through masks or ventilators. Individuals can help prevent septicemia by getting medical attention if they suspect they have an infection, as proper treatment with antibiotics can stop that infection from traveling to the bloodstream.