What are the Symptoms of Sepsis?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 01 June 2019
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Sepsis is a condition characterized by infection of the blood. The most common symptoms of sepsis include an elevated heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate. In addition, symptoms of sepsis can also include generalized weakness, and other related symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, and nausea. Patients who are suffering from sepsis will typically experience a gradual increase in the severity of these symptoms. An increased rate or severity of infection may also indicate sepsis, and individuals should pay close attention to additional symptoms in order to determine if medical assistance is necessary.

One of the most common symptoms of sepsis is an elevated heart rate. In most cases, those who are diagnosed with sepsis experience a heart rate of at least 100 beats per minute. Healthy adults who are not currently diagnosed with health conditions usually have a heart rate of between 60 and 90 beats per minute at rest. Experienced health care workers will likely be able to measure their heart rates manually, but individuals who are not familiar with this technique may require medical assistance.


An elevated temperature is another of the many symptoms of sepsis. As with heart rate, there is a range of body temperatures which is considered to be normal. For most individuals, this range generally is between 94 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit (34.4 and 37.8 degrees Celsius). Individuals who experience a temperature significantly above or below this may currently be suffering from sepsis. Those with an elevated temperature and who are currently experiencing other significant symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

In some cases, increased respiratory rates can be indicative of sepsis infection. High respiratory rates are generally considered to relate to infection, and can be cause for concern. At rest, most healthy individuals typically have a respiratory rate of around 15 breaths per minute. Respiratory rates that are significantly higher or lower can also be related to the current fitness level of the individual in question.

Another common symptom of sepsis is generalized weakness. In addition, feelings of light-headedness, dizziness, or nausea may also indicate sepsis infection. These conditions come on gradually in most cases, and increase in intensity over a significant period of time. Weakness, dizziness, or light-headedness that comes on rapidly is typically not considered to be related to sepsis.

An increased rate of infection may also indicate sepsis. Those who experience a sudden increase in the rate or urinary tract infections, colds, or other conditions may be suffering from sepsis. Individuals should consider both the occurrence rate as well as the severity of these infections in order to determine whether or not medical assistance is necessary.


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