Septicemia: Overview

Septicemia is a serious, rapidly progressing, life-threatening infection that can arise secondary to localized infections of the respiratory, genitourinary or gastrointestinal tract, or from the skin. It may precede or coincide with infections of the bone, central nervous system or other tissues.

Signs and Symptoms

Onset of septicemia is heralded by spiking fevers and chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, the outward appearance of being seriously ill (toxic) and a feeling of impending doom.  These symptoms rapidly progress to shock with decreased body temperature (hypothermia), falling blood pressure, confusion or other changes in the mental status, and clotting abnormalities evidenced by hemorrhagic lesions in the skin.


Septicemia can rapidly lead to septic shock and death, being associated with organisms such as meningococci that can lead to shock, adrenal collapse and disseminated intravascular coagulation.


Information On This Page

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Septicemia:

Symptoms - Metabolic

Risk factors for Septicemia:

Organ Health

Consequences of Splenectomy often increases risk of SepticemiaConsequences of Splenectomy
Certain bacteria, including pneumococcus and hemophilus, that are usually confined to local infections may become blood-borne (septic) and widespread in splenectomized persons.  To avoid this potentially fatal situation, they are usually instructed to seek medical attention promptly for all fevers or obvious infections.

Septicemia suggests the following may be present:

Emergency Care


Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of
Definite or direct link: suggests
Definite or direct link: