What is Septic Shock and How to Treat It?
Septic shock can happen to anyone at any time. It is very common and is caused when the walls of the large intestine are damaged, leaving them weakened and not able to absorb the liquid waste that the body produces. This damage causes fluid to leak from the walls of the intestines, through the abdominal cavity, into the bloodstream.
Septic shock, also known as sepsis, is an emergency medical condition. If you feel that you have or suspect you may have septic shock, dial 911 to get an ambulance dispatched immediately. You will likely be placed in an ICU (intensive care unit), where your vital organs and functions can be monitored while the infection heals.
As this liquid goes down the tubes, it causes internal bleeding, which is where the first symptoms of sepsis may begin. When the bleeding does not stop within 24 hours, or if the bleeding is severe, then you should go to the hospital. You need to undergo a procedure called a CT scan or colonoscopy in order to diagnose the condition.
Your doctor may prescribe drugs to treat the bleeding, like aspirin and intravenous fluids, such as blood transfusions. Antibiotics may also be given to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. You may need surgery if antibiotics do not stop the bleeding.
Septic shock can cause a number of complications, but all are fairly minor
You may need to have surgery to repair a severely damaged liver or kidney. You may have to have a hole made in your abdominal wall by a catheter inserted to remove the fluid from your abdomen. Other times, a patient may require a dialysis machine to help rid the body of the fluid.
In the worst-case scenario, septic shock can lead to permanent damage of the kidneys. If you have kidney failure or are suffering from acute kidney failure, you may also be required to take prescription medications to replace the lost fluid and electrolytes.
A person with low blood pressure that has sepsis and the condition is not improved with fluid treatment, this simply means the person’s body has gone into septic shock. Such a person will need medications called Vasopressors to keep the blood pressure high enough to get blood to the organs.
Without vasopressors, insufficient blood flow can result in vital organs not getting enough oxygen and beginning to fail, such as the brain, kidneys, lungs, and heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sepsis is often fatal, because it causes the death of about 258,000 people each year in the United States and is the 9th leading cause of disease-related deaths.
Remember, if you suspect you may need immediate medical attention, call 911. If you cannot go to the hospital immediately, get on a waiting list for ICU care. You may need to stay overnight in the ICU in order to get enough oxygen and nutrients. There, your condition will be monitored carefully, and the right medicine may be prescribed to keep your body functioning normally.
Once you arrive at the hospital, you will usually be placed on intravenous medications and drugs to help control your septic shock. In some cases, your doctor will prescribe drugs to help prevent other complications from occurring, such as liver failure. Sometimes, your doctor may suggest that you eat a high protein diet in order to improve your absorption of nutrients, which will reduce the amount of septic shock you experience. after surgery.
Prevention of Septic Shock
Some drugs and medications may help your symptoms now but won’t prevent further damage from occurring. If you are using antibiotics, your condition may get worse, or if they are taking an antibiotic for an extended period of time, your body will not have enough strength to fight against bacteria. If this happens, your doctor may prescribe a stronger antibiotic.
There are other steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing sepsis and septic shock
- Get regular vaccinations against viral infections, such as flu, pneumonia, chickenpox, HIV, and other infections that could potentially lead to sepsis.
- Practice good hygiene, such as bathing and changing clothes regularly. Washing the hands frequently, especially after handling food, touching pets, and using bathroom facilities, is another way to keep infection at bay.
- Care for and clean any open or gaping wounds. Wear disposable gloves, and rinse wounds with clean, soap-free water to clear out debris or dirt. Cover the wound to protect it, and see a doctor if the wound does not close or might still contain dirt.
- Look out for signs of infection, such as fever, chills, rapid breathing, rash, or confusion.
- For any bacterial infections, follow the doctor’s advice on how to take the antibiotics and finish the whole course of treatment. Store the medicine according to the packaging instructions.
- Treat fungal and parasitic infections as soon as symptoms appear, and use medication specific to the particular fungus or parasite.
- Control diabetes, if relevant.
- Avoid smoking
The length of time you use antibiotics may vary depending on the severity of your condition. You may also need to start a new course every two weeks. You may also need to continue some medications, especially if you become pregnant or breastfeed, or if your doctor advises you to use a method of birth control in order to prevent you from becoming pregnant.
There are a variety of devices and aids available to help you during your recovery from septic shock
One of these devices is a splint or a sling that helps to keep your abdomen closed while you recover from the procedure. You may need a special mattress in the ICU in order to protect your skin from any infection caused by the surgical equipment that you may be using.
These devices may be useful for keeping you comfortable during the healing process. These may include an IV bed, which allows your physician to monitor the blood pressure in your body during the recovery period.
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