Septicemia is a systemic infection, usually caused by bacteria of various types contaminating a person’s blood. When septicemia is not treated with the appropriate antibiotics, the infected blood can then contaminate other organs or tissues of the body, creating life-threatening infections. There are many things that can cause this condition, most notably, cuts that have become infected.
Infections of the mouth or teeth, when untreated by antibiotics, can cause blood poisoning. One serious complication can occur if a dentist initiates treatment of affected teeth, and there is an additional development of bacterial endocarditis (BE), which is a strep infection. The strep enters the blood stream and then cultivates inside the cardiac tissues creating blockages. Anyone with a heart condition is slightly more vulnerable to BE and needs to take antibiotics prior to dental procedures. In most cases, where infection of the mouth, like an abscess is clearly evident, dentists will treat the infection prior to performing any type of oral surgery.
Infections of cuts or surgical wounds both carry a risk or developing septicemia. These wounds that begin to feel hot, look red, have red streaks coming out from them, or that seem to be draining pus should all be examined by a doctor. Since many people who have surgery now go home within a day or two, self-examination is important to rule out possible infection. With a large cut or surgical wound, one has a slightly increased risk of blood poisoning, because blood loss lowers the body’s natural immunities.
Burns are another major causal factor in septicemia. Third degree burns are particularly vulnerable to infection, and the larger the burn, the greater the chance of infection. Often third degree burns damage the nerve endings of skin, causing people not to initially feel pain at the site of the burn. People may not notice initial infection of burns without visual inspection.
Another possible cause of blood poisoning is internal injury, such as a stomach injury after a car accident. Intestinal rupture, gall bladder disease and rupture of the appendix or spleen are very often are treated with antibiotics from the onset, since the blood is immediately exposed to high and dangerous bacteria levels. This is particularly of issue with intestinal perforations, which spill bowel contents into other parts of the body, causing almost immediate septicemia.
A partial miscarriage, or missed miscarriage can also result in septicemia, if pregnancy remains stay in the uterus and become infected. Virtually any internal infection can cause blood poisoning because of direct contact with blood cells.
Some conditions make one more prone to septicemia. Those who have autoimmune disorders are more prone to infections of all kinds, since they have weakened immune systems. People with diabetes tend to exhibit an overall higher risk for blood poisoning because they also lack the ability to heal from cuts. Diabetics with foot injuries are asked to be particularly watchful, as these injuries or even small cuts can be very susceptible to infection.