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Sepsis

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Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms associated with sepsis that a person experiences depend upon the organs affected, the severity of the condition, and the person's general health status. They may be nonspecific and, in the very young and elderly, may not be typical. Other medical conditions may cause similar symptoms. It is important to quickly distinguish between sepsis and other conditions, as they are treated differently.

Signs and symptoms of sepsis may include:

  • Fever, shivering, chills
  • Clammy or sweaty skin
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion or disorientation

Additional signs and symptoms may indicate a progression to severe sepsis as organs begin to fail. These may include:

  • Less frequent urination (kidney dysfunction)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing, cough
  • Chest pain (abnormal function of the heart)
  • Pelvic or flank pain
  • Mottled skin (skin that is blotchy or spotted with different shades of color)

Signs and symptoms of septic shock may include those listed above plus a severe drop in blood pressure.

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