Sepsis is infection of the blood and according to at least one source, it is “a condition in which your body is fighting a severe infection . . . [that] can develop either as a result of your body’s own defense system or from toxic substances made by the infecting agent (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus).” Elderly individuals are more susceptible to acquiring sepsis. According to at least one source, many different microbes can cause sepsis and “[i]nfections in the lungs (pneumonia), bladder and kidneys (urinary tract infections), skin (cellulitis), abdomen (such as appendicitis), and other organs (such as meningitis) can spread and lead to sepsis.” In addition, infections that develop after surgery can also lead to sepsis.

In the nursing home setting, it is important to recognize any symptoms of sepsis in your loved ones as noted in at least one source: chills and severe shaking, heart beating very fast and rapid breathing, confusion, disorientation, and agitation as well as dizziness and decreased urination, a rash on the skin (reddish discoloration or small dark red dots throughout the body) and perhaps pain in the joints at the wrists, elbows, back, hips, knees, and ankles. Some elderly individuals with certain diseases are more at risk than others. If you notice any of these symptoms, have your loved ones examined by a doctor immediately.

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