Baby

Sepsis in Babies – What it is, Symptoms, Cause & Treatment

Sepsis is one of the little known health conditions that are otherwise life-threatening. Although the condition affects teenagers and adults, it mostly affects infants and babies. It is a health condition associated with damage to a baby’s organs or body tissue due to an infection.

Your baby can develop sepsis as a result of any type of infection including UTI, skin or in case he/she acquires an infection at birth, in which case you transfer an existing infection to your newborn.

This is a serious health condition that leads to 25% of all hospital admissions across the world in particular ICU admissions. Babies and the elderly turn out to develop severe sepsis compared to teenagers and young adults. It is a serious considering that it causes about 35% of deaths to all ICU admissions across the world, with babies and the elderly being the main victims.

Symptoms

It can be very difficult to ascertain whether your baby has developed sepsis. This is because the condition presents symptoms similar to those caused by other diseases and illnesses. However, development and sepsis attack can be fast and your baby’s general health condition can worsen within a very short time.

Common sepsis symptoms include sudden increase in heart beat accompanied by fast breathing, reduced urination either high or low fever, general body weakness, diarrhea and vomiting. Severe sepsis attack can easily lead to organ failure, low blood pressure due to inefficient flow of blood and shock.

Causes

Sepsis is not a disease, illness or infection. It is a condition that develops when a baby’s organs or body tissue get damaged when the immune system fights an infection in the body.

Of all infections, those caused by bacteria happen to be responsible for development of sepsis and in particular infections caused by Staphylococci, Streptococcus and Escherichia coli bacteria. However, fungal and viral infections can also lead to development of sepsis. It has also been established that babies who get lung infections are at high risk of developing sepsis compared to babies who get infected on other parts of the body.

Treatment

Mild sepsis can be very easy to deal with. Indeed most cases of mild sepsis do resolve on their own without mothers realizing that their babies have indeed been infected.

The fact that sepsis can develop very fast and possibly cause organ failure leading to death makes it very necessary to seek medical attention. A pediatrician is most likely to recommend both blood and urine tests to rule out any other disease or health condition in case she/he suspects that your baby has sepsis.

There are various treatment methods of which a pediatrician can pick one or several methods after confirmation of sepsis. Mild sepsis can easily be treated by ensuring that your baby remains in a well ventilated room while receiving fluid intravenously. Serious sepsis or shock requires quick action by a pediatrician in which case your baby is bound to be given antibiotics in addition to support for identified organ that is about to fail. This is often in the ICU.

Although a life-threatening health condition, your baby can gain full recovery so long as you seek medical attention the moment you notice that your baby is unwell. This is why it is very important to learn and understand your baby to make it possible for you to tell whenever he/she falls ill. It is always a good idea to consult a pediatrician regardless of whether your baby is only uncomfortable or seriously ill.

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