What are the Most Common Sepsis Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Laura Evans
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2019
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Sepsis symptoms can include having a below-normal temperature, a temperature of more than 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit (38.5 degrees C), chills, and skin rashes. Other sepsis symptoms include taking more than 20 breaths per minute, or hyperventilating. Severe sepsis can include confusion, which may come on suddenly, and a high heart rate. If a patient goes into sepsis shock, symptoms include dangerously low blood pressure.

Other sepsis symptoms include having skin that is warmer than usual. In addition, the patient may have a less-than-normal urine flow and may experience hallucinations. Ultimately, if the person goes into septic shock, important organs throughout the body may stop functioning correctly, leading to death.

Sepsis is an infection that causes a flood of bacteria in the bloodstream, ultimately resulting in tiny blood clots that the body is unable to break down. This infection often occurs when one part of the body, such as the bowels or kidneys, has been infected and the infection spreads. The infection may also occur in hospitalized patients via bedsores or surgical incisions.

Because of the blot clots, blood flow through the body can be impaired. This leads not only to the heart working harder than it should, it can lead to less oxygen flow to the brain and other organs. In addition, sepsis can result in tissue death, or gangrene. Almost half of those who have severe sepsis symptoms, or who go into septic shock, may die.


As with many other medical conditions, the elderly, those who have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and those who have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are more likely to develop sepsis. In addition, the tendency to develop sepsis may run in families. Hospital patients are at a higher risk of developing sepsis. Intensive care patients are even more likely to get the infection than the general hospital population.

Sepsis testing methods include looking at blood for lower-than-normal levels of oxygen, clotting, or bacteria, although bacteria may not be evident if the patient is already taking antibiotics. Part of the testing process involves locating the source of the infection if the source is not readily identifiable. X-rays, ultrasounds or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to help pinpoint the infection's location.

Patients are treated with antibiotics as soon as sepsis symptoms become evident. Sepsis patients may be given intravenous fluids to help increase blood pressure or drugs that will do the same. Physicians may also prescribe painkillers for pain and insulin to address blood sugar issues. Surgery may be required to clean out or remove infected areas of the body.


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Post 3

My temperature was 105 when I had sepsis, but I felt like I was freezing. It was caught fairly early though so I didn't have any major complications. Just fatigue and some side effects of antibiotics.

Post 2

@turquoise-- Sepsis causes muscle aches because of the immune system's inflammatory response. When there is a sepsis infection, the immune system literally starts a war against the virus. It releases disease fighting agents throughout the body and this process (along with dead materials left from destroyed viruses) lead to inflammation. So the inflammatory response is largely responsible for this symptom.

The other cause is reduced oxygen flow to muscles. Blood flow slows down during an inflammatory response and the muscles don't get as much oxygen and nutrients as they need. Does this make sense?

Post 1

Why does sepsis cause severe muscle aches and pains?

My sister was hospitalized for sepsis last week and she was complaining about the muscle aches more than the fever.

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