According to WebMD, symptoms of septicemia can include high fever, low blood pressure, low body temperature, elevated heart and respiration rates, vomiting and diarrhea. Septicemia is also referred to as blood poisoning or sepsis. MedlinePlus states that, in addition to looking unwell, a sepsis patient may have a confused mental state, dark red splotches on the skin, symptoms of shock and oliguria or lack of urine output.
According to Wikipedia, sepsis is the result of a severe infection that produces lethal levels of inflammation throughout the body. WebMD states that there are a number of diseases and conditions that, if unchecked, may lead to sepsis, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, appendicitis, surgical wounds and even small cuts on the skin. Wikipedia additionally lists fungal, viral and parasitic infections as other possible causes.
Encyclopaedia Britannica explains that colonies of bacteria produce toxins, which are naturally occurring by-products of their life cycles, but which cause blood clotting in humans. This impacts the patient's ability to process oxygen and carbon dioxide and also impairs blood circulation.
Wikipedia states that the mortality rate for severe sepsis is approximately 20 to 35 percent, with infants and elderly patients at the highest risk. Despite advances in medicine, sepsis is occurring more frequently because of the constant evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Treatments include intravenous fluid replacement, hemodialysis, oxygen therapy, surgical drainage, vasopressors, broad-spectrum antibiotics, blood transfusions, mechanical ventilation and parenteral nutrition.