We are constantly taking microorganisms into our body; but it takes a huge numberof bacteria for every gram of tissue in your body for sepsis to occur. The course of sepsis in the body depends on what type of organism invaded the body through the blood stream, and the volume of body tissue that has been compromised by the inflammatory process.
Different types of bacteria circulating in the blood won’t necessarily cause an infection. The immune system is designed to destroy bacteria before they have a time to replicate. However, individuals with an inadequate immune response or a suppressed immune system could very well speed from a state of bacteremia to a state of septicemia and sepsis.
Many of the older generation have to have surgical implants, such as total knee replacements and total hip replacements. Most people who have these surgeries recover without any problems at all, and others suffer an introduction of microorganisms through the operative wound and develop sepsis. As a preventive measure for surgeries, such as the hip and knee replacements, the doctor will often give a preoperative prophylactic antibiotic through an intravenous line. Even with all the precautions, there is still a chance for a small percentage of people to become invaded by microbes. In a person with a suppressed immune system, those microbes in the blood can emit toxins. Most people refer to this as blood poisoning. The toxins literally take over the body’s tissues and the tissues begin to die and the organs of the body begin to shut down.
Sepsis in newborns
The elderly and the immunosuppressed aren’t the only ones susceptible to developing sepsis. Newborns can also be at risk for developing sepsis. Newborns are born without a complete immune system. It takes about 6 months for babies to develop a healthy immune response. Babies who breast feed often have a boost to their immune system. Babies with a healthy immune system are less likely to suffer from an illness that could rapidly turn into sepsis.
How do bacteria penetrate the blood stream?
Bacteria can enter the blood stream through the lymphatic system and also by penetrating the walls of the capillaries. The microbes can circulate, via the blood and lymph system, through the lungs, kidneys and other areas of the body. A simple thing like squeezing a zit or brushing your teeth too vigorously could open a door for microorganisms to enter the vascular and lymphatic systems. Therefore, it’s very important to refrain from squeezing pimples; it’s equally important to practice good oral hygiene habits to prevent periodontal disease.
Concerning the periodontal door for bacteria to enter the blood stream, very many cases of sepsis are odontogenic in origin, meaning that the organisms can find their way under your gums and down into the tissues that form your teeth. Bacteria can get into the bone sockets that hold your teeth and over time the bacteria causes bone loss. If your immune system isn’t very healthy, an invasion of bacteria through the periodontal (gums) and odontal (teeth) regions of the mouth and jaw, septicemia and sepsis could result.
There’s no way to tell who will develop sepsis and who won’t; this is why everyone should practice aseptic practices. For instance, when you use a public restroom, don’t touch the faucets with your hands. Wash your hands, dry them and shut off the faucet with a paper towel. Use the paper towel to open the door to leave the rest room. With a little research you can find many ways to limit the amount of possible pathogens to get onto or into your body.
It’s also important to have balance. You need germs around to keep a healthy immune system, but if you have been sick or your have an impaired immune system, it is important to practice aseptic techniques in hand washing to prevent the spread of organisms that cause disease.