Treatment requires urgent medical care, usually in a hospital or intensive care unit (ICU). This allows for close monitoring of your vital signs and blood tests. Treatment targets three main concerns: the sepsis, the infection causing sepsis, and any damage the sepsis caused.
Anti-infectives should be started as soon as possible. These may include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, or anti-parasite agents. The specific medication used will depend on the type of infection present. For example, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections.
Other medications are usually needed, including intravenous fluids (given through your vein). These medications can help you:
- Keep your blood pressure stable
- Prevent blood clots
- Prevent pressure ulcers
- Keep your blood sugars in target range, even if you do not have diabetes
- Source Control: Removing the source of the infection as early as possible is critical. This may be an infected catheter, tube, abscess, or dead tissue in the body.
- Dialysis: If the sepsis causes acute kidney injury, dialysis can help filter toxins. This is usually stopped after the sepsis clears, and the kidneys heal. If the kidney damage is too severe, dialysis may be needed even after the sepsis clears.
- Breathing Support: Some people may need extra oxygen, a breathing tube, or a ventilator (breathing machine) to keep healthy oxygen levels.
- Artificial Nutrition: Nutrition support may have to wait until your blood pressure and fluid balance are stable. Once that happens, a feeding tube may be used to receive nutrition support. This is to avoid the infection risk with getting nutrition through a vein.
- Surgery: Sometimes surgery is needed to remove an organ or permanently damaged tissue (e.g., amputation).