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What does the medical term septic mean: What is Sepsis? | Sepsis

What is Sepsis? | Sepsis

  • What is sepsis?
  • Is sepsis contagious?
  • What causes sepsis?
  • Who is at risk?
  • What are the signs & symptoms?
  • What should I do if I think I might have sepsis?
  • Fact Sheet, Brochure, and Conversation Starter

Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection, including COVID-19, can lead to sepsis. In a typical year:

  • At least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis.
  • At least 350,000 adults who develop sepsis die during their hospitalization or are discharged to hospice.
  • 1 in 3 people who dies in a hospital had sepsis during that hospitalization
  • Sepsis, or the infection causing sepsis, starts before a patient goes to the hospital in nearly 87% of cases.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency.   Sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body.  Infections that lead to sepsis most often start in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Is sepsis contagious?

You can’t spread sepsis to other people. However, an infection can lead to sepsis, and you can spread some infections to other people.


Sepsis happens when…

Transcript: Sepsis happens when [TXT 1 1 KB]

What causes sepsis?

Infections can put you or your loved one at risk for sepsis. When germs get into a person’s body, they can cause an infection. If you don’t stop that infection, it can cause sepsis. Bacterial infections cause most cases of sepsis. Sepsis can also be a result of other infections, including viral infections, such as COVID-19 or influenza, or fungal infections.

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Who is at risk?

Anyone can develop sepsis, but some people are at higher risk for sepsis:

Adults 65 or older

People with weakened immune systems

People with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease

People with recent severe illness or hospitalization

People who survived sepsis

Children younger than one

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What are the signs & symptoms?

A person with sepsis might have one or more of the following signs or symptoms:

High heart rate or weak pulse

Confusion or disorientation

Extreme pain or discomfort

Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold

Shortness of breath

Clammy or sweaty skin

A medical assessment by a healthcare professional is needed to confirm sepsis.

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What should I do if I think I might have sepsis?

Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one has an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse, ACT FAST.

Get medical care IMMEDIATELY. Ask your healthcare professional, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?” and if you should go to the emergency room.

If you have a medical emergency, call 911. If you have or think you have sepsis, tell the operator. If you have or think you have COVID-19, tell the operator this as well. If possible, put on a mask before medical help arrives.

With fast recognition and treatment, most people survive.  Treatment requires urgent medical care, usually in an intensive care unit in a hospital, and includes careful monitoring of vital signs and often antibiotics.

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Fact Sheet, Brochure, and Conversation Starter (Print Only)

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Sepsis [PDF – 2 pages]

It’s Time to Talk about Sepsis [PDF – 2 pages]

Start the Conversation Today [PDF – 2 Pages]

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Sepsis – Symptoms & causes


Sepsis is a serious condition in which the body responds improperly to an infection. The infection-fighting processes turn on the body, causing the organs to work poorly.

Sepsis may progress to septic shock. This is a dramatic drop in blood pressure that can damage the lungs, kidneys, liver and other organs. When the damage is severe, it can lead to death.

Early treatment of sepsis improves chances for survival.

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Symptoms of sepsis

Symptoms of sepsis may include:

  • Change in mental status.
  • Fast, shallow breathing.
  • Sweating for no clear reason.
  • Feeling lightheaded.
  • Shivering.
  • Symptoms specific to the type of infection, such as painful urination from a urinary tract infection or worsening cough from pneumonia.

Symptoms of sepsis are not specific. They can vary from person to person, and sepsis may appear differently in children than in adults.

Symptoms of septic shock

Sepsis may progress to septic shock. Septic shock is a severe drop in blood pressure. Progression to septic shock raises the risk of death. Symptoms of septic shock include:

  • Not being able to stand up.
  • Strong sleepiness or hard time staying awake.
  • Major change in mental status, such as extreme confusion.

When to see a doctor

Any infection could lead to sepsis. Go to a health care provider if you have symptoms of sepsis or an infection or wound that isn’t getting better.

Symptoms such as confusion or fast breathing need emergency care.


Any type of infection can lead to sepsis. This includes bacterial, viral or fungal infections. Those that more commonly cause sepsis include infections of:

  • Lungs, such as pneumonia.
  • Kidney, bladder and other parts of the urinary system.
  • Digestive system.
  • Bloodstream.
  • Catheter sites.
  • Wounds or burns.

Risk factors

Some factors that increase the risk infection will lead to sepsis include:

  • People over age 65.
  • Infancy.
  • People with lower immune response, such as those being treated for cancer or people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Admission to intensive care unit or longer hospital stays.
  • Devices that go in the body, such as catheters in the vein, called intravenous, or breathing tubes.
  • Treatment with antibiotics in the last 90 days.
  • A condition that requires treatment with corticosteroids, which can lower immune response.


As sepsis worsens, vital organs, such as the brain, heart and kidneys, don’t get as much blood as they should. Sepsis may cause atypical blood clotting. The resulting small clots or burst blood vessels may damage or destroy tissues.

Most people recover from mild sepsis, but the mortality rate for septic shock is about 30% to 40%. Also, an episode of severe sepsis raises the risk for future infections.

What does septic tank mean – Meanings of words

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septic tank in the crossword dictionary

septic tank
  • Underground sump for domestic wastewater treatment
  • Water treatment tank
  • Wastewater treatment plant element
  • Element for wastewater treatment plant
  • Plant for the treatment of small amounts of domestic wastewater
  • Swimming pool in the sewer network for wastewater treatment
  • Waste water treatment plant

Dictionary of medical terms

septic tank (Greek septikos, putrefactive)

see Septic tank.

Explanatory dictionary of the Russian language. D.N. Ushakov

septic tank

(se) and SEPTIKTANK (se), septic tank, m. Pool in the sewer network for wastewater treatment.

New explanatory and derivational dictionary of the Russian language, T. F. Efremova.

septic tank

Pool in the sewer network for wastewater treatment.

Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1998

septic tank

SEPTIC (from Greek septikos – putrid) a facility for treating small amounts (up to 25 m3/day) of domestic wastewater. It is a horizontal type underground sedimentation tank, consisting of 1 or more chambers through which the waste liquid flows.

Great Soviet Encyclopedia

Septic tank

(eng. septic, from Greek septikós ≈ putrid, purulent), a facility for treating small amounts (up to 25 m3, rarely up to 50 m3 per day) of domestic wastewater. The sewage system is a horizontal underground sump consisting of 1≈3 chambers through which the waste liquid flows in succession. Wastewater pretreated (clarified) in S. is then subjected to biological treatment in underground filtration fields or in sand and gravel filters. In S. delayed until 90% suspended solids.


Septic tank

Septic tank (sump ) — element of local treatment plant; used at the stage of design and construction of integrated systems for local treatment of domestic and household wastewater. A septic tank, as such, is not a complete treatment plant and is used in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. During the operation of the treatment plant, it is necessary to use methods of soil post-treatment.

The septic tank is designed to collect and treat household wastewater from individual residential buildings, low-rise buildings, cottages in the absence of a central sewerage system. The operation of the septic tank is based on the principle of gravitational settling and biological post-treatment using bioenzymatic preparations, as well as soil natural and forced post-treatment methods. These can be biofilters or bioloading.

The guide for the design, construction and operation of a septic tank is SNiP 2.04.03-85 “Sewerage. External networks and structures”.

SP 32.13330.2012 – Updated version of SNiP 2.04.03-85

What is a septic tank and how does it work?. NPO KVO

To create comfortable conditions in the country, most of the modern amenities are needed, including sewerage, which solves the problem of removing and treating domestic wastewater. A cesspool is a good option, but its productivity is very limited, and if a large water consumption is planned at the dacha, you need to be ready to clean it often, and this is due to inconveniences: an unpleasant smell and high prices for sewer services. In this article, we will consider how successfully the installation of a septic tank copes with the task of autonomous sewerage of a modern country house.

What is a septic tank and how does it work?

Septic tank is a sewage treatment plant consisting of several chambers in which the wastewater treatment process takes place sequentially. Separate containers connected to each other by an overflow pipe can act as chambers, but most often a modern septic tank is a plastic tank divided into chambers by partitions. This one-piece design makes the device more compact and easier to install. One of the representatives of such treatment facilities in the modern market is the septic tank “Kedr” of the Unilos company.

Sewage flows into the first chamber of the septic tank, where it settles, causing sludge and solid waste to settle to the bottom, and water flows into the next chamber, where the process is repeated. To achieve a higher level of cleaning in a septic tank, biological agents can be used. It is important to note one feature of septic tanks: although they clean the drains, they do not produce water at the outlet that can be used for household purposes or discharged into a reservoir. Therefore, an obligatory component of a septic tank is a filtration field, a filtration well or an infiltrator.

What is a good septic tank and what are its disadvantages

The dream of every homeowner is a septic tank for giving without pumping. However, this is impossible, because the waste gradually accumulates, albeit at different rates, depending on the model of the septic tank. Therefore, regular cleaning is necessary. The advantage of a septic tank over a cesspool is that it is able to process a larger amount of wastewater and needs to be cleaned much less often. The maintenance process is also different: if a sewage truck is needed to pump out a cesspool, then sludge is removed from modern septic tanks by a built-in pump and can be used as fertilizer.

Among the disadvantages of septic tanks, it should be noted that enough space is needed to accommodate them. This is due to the fact that such a sewer cannot work without a filtration field, which requires additional free space on the site. In addition, the work of a septic tank depends on the ability of the soil to absorb water. Septic tanks for summer cottages with a high level of groundwater require additional devices, such as an intermediate well, etc., and this complicates and increases the cost of the design of an autonomous system.

An alternative to a septic tank

There are waste disposal systems that do not have the above disadvantages – biological treatment plants. They are often called septic tanks because of the similarity in design (they are also divided into chambers in which overflow and cleaning take place), but unlike classic septic tanks, they do not need a filtration field device.