Also called: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness. Your body's response to a bacterial infection usually causes it. Your immune system goes into overdrive, overwhelming normal processes in your blood. The result is that small blood clots form, blocking blood flow to vital organs. This can lead to organ failure. Babies, old people and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to get sepsis. But even healthy people can become deathly ill from it. A quick diagnosis can be crucial, because one third of people who get sepsis die from it. Sepsis is usually treated in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU). IV antibiotics and fluids may be given to try to knock out the infection and to keep blood pressure from dropping too low. Patients may also need respirators to help them breathe.