Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to any type of infection. The flu, which is a viral infection, can cause secondary complications such as sepsis. Sepsis is one of the most common flu complications that requires hospitalization.1
Sepsis is the body’s reaction to an uncontrolled infection, which can be bacterial, viral, or fungal in nature. These infections can cause a chain reaction in your body, causing tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. It is critically important to seek immediate medical attention if sepsis is suspected.
ANYONE, regardless of health status, can fall victim to sepsis. People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or lung disease, older adults, and young children are especially vulnerable to developing sepsis.
Symptoms of Sepsis
Confusion or disorientation
Shortness of breath
Rapid heart rate
Shivering or feeling very cold
Extreme pain or discomfort
Clammy or sweaty
Healthcare providers use a number of physical findings to diagnose suspected sepsis, including fever, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Lab tests may also be used to check for signs of infection or organ damage.
Treatment for sepsis may include the use of antibiotics, oxygen, IV fluids, assisted breathing measures, and/or surgery to remove damaged tissue.
Page last reviewed: September 2020.