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(1) The medical term is ”septicemia.” No matter which of these two terms-blood poisoning or septicemia-you prefer, what is meant is the same thing, namely a “general (systemic) disease that is due to the presence and the persistence of germs (pathogenic microorganisms) or their toxins in the bloodstream.” The “germs” can be bacteria (in bacteremia) or any other microscopic agent of infection capable of causing disease in humans. Another term that is very closely related to “blood poisoning” and “septicemia” is ”sepsis.” “Sepsis” also refers to the presence and persistence of germs or their toxins in the blood but those germs or toxins do not need to be in the blood. They may be in other tissues of the body. Blood poisoning/septicemia and sepsis are often serious. They can sometimes be life threatening diseases calling for urgent and comprehensive care.

Common Misspellings: blood poisioning, blod poisoning, blod poisioning

(2) “Blood poisoning” is not a medical term. As the term is usually used, it refers to the effects of bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) — and not a poisonous substance in the blood. So “blood poisoning” is really a misnomer.

Bacteria may enter the blood through a wound or infection or during a medical or dental procedure or injection. Signs and symptoms of bacteremia may include:

Sudden, high fever Chills Rapid heart rate Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain Appearing or feeling seriously ill

A diagnosis of bacteremia is usually confirmed by a blood culture. Bacteremia is a serious illness that requires prompt medical attention. Treatment requires hospitalization and includes intravenous antibiotics. Without prompt treatment, bacteremia can quickly progress to severe sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition.

glossary/blood_poisoning.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)