Infections happen when unwelcomed germs and microorganisms enter our body and start causing harm. Some of these microorganisms include viruses and bacteria, and there are different breeds and strands of bacteria causing a wide variety of conditions, affecting any organ in our system and sometimes threatening our life. Our body has a system that is specifically design to fight and hopefully defeat all these infections, called the immune system.
If things work as they should, our white cells and other active components of the immune function will find, inactivate and destroy the microorganisms that are causing us harm. However, when the infection is too severe or the immune system isn’t ready to fight it, a high quantity of chemicals will be released into the body that could trigger inflammatory responses in the tissue of different organs. This phenomenon is known as sepsis and could potentially lead a patient to their death.
The initial symptom of sepsis is a febrile reaction. Fever that is caused by sepsis is often high, well above 38 degrees Celsius. When the generalized inflammation of the tissues commences, the body normally reacts by rising its temperature as a febrile response. The purpose of fever in the organism is to create an environment for bacteria when they cannot survive and as a result it helps the immune system defeat them and eliminate them from our bodies.
The challenge with fever as a symptom of sepsis is that when sepsis is originated by the presence of bacteria in the body, there is a high chance that the organism had already had a febrile response to begin with, so it is difficult to tell fever caused by sepsis apart from fever that is originally caused by the infection in the first place. A sudden rise in temperature could be an indicator.