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Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms that a person experiences depend upon the organs affected, the severity of the condition, and the person's general health status. They may be nonspecific and, in the very young and elderly, may not be typical. Other medical conditions may cause similar symptoms. It is important to quickly distinguish between these conditions as they are treated differently.

Symptoms of sepsis may include:

  • Fever (increased temperature) or coolness (decreased temperature)
  • Chills
  • Rigors- uncontrolled shaking
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Additional symptoms may indicate a progression to severe sepsis as organs begin to fail. These may include:

  • Confusion, mental changes
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased urine output (kidney dysfunction)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing, cough
  • Chest pain (abnormal function of the heart)
  • Pelvic or flank pain
  • Mottled skin

Signs and symptoms of septic shock may include those listed above plus a severe drop in blood pressure.

Last Review Date: December 30, 2018