UTIs and Becoming Septic How to Avoid This Deadly Combination

Despite all the medical advancements of the 21st century, there are still medical dangers to people living with spinal cord injuries. One of the biggest that remains is sepsis, which is the clinical name for a blood infection. For people who are paralyzed, this is a condition they must be aware of. Bedsores and UTIs, which are two common conditions of people with spinal cord injuries, can lead to sepsis.

Unfortunately, sepsis can be deadly. If you become septic, the survival rate is 50%. Therefore, people with spinal cord injuries must be acutely aware of what this condition is all about so they can prevent it from happening as much as possible. Read on for signs and symptom of sepsis, as well as the best way to prevent it.

Preventing Sepsis: Wounds

Wound - Prevention from being septic

Life with a spinal cord injury can often lead to skin breakdowns. This is common knowledge. Your skin is something you must be incredibly careful of when you're paralyzed. It is the biggest organ in the body and when you have diminished sensation, skin infections can occur easily and spread even easier.

Pressure sores are one of the top health conditions that can lead to sepsis. Pressure sores can easily become infected if not treated correctly. When this happens, antibiotics are usually the only to treat it. Unfortunately, some antibiotics will not work, or you may become resistant over time, and this is when a pressure wound infection can turn into sepsis. The infection then spreads to the bloodstream, which can cause death.

To make sure you never become septic from a pressure sore or any other skin infection, always make sure you keep your wound clean and to get antibiotics if the wounds begin to smell, it changes in color or if you have a fever. These three signs are hugely important to always be on the lookout for. Also, make sure you clean any pressure sore morning and night and to use the proper bandages and salves.

Preventing Sepsis: UTIs

UTI Sepsis Prevention

Bladder and urinary tract infections are another top cause of sepsis when living with paralysis.  People with spinal cord injuries are one of the number one groups of people to experience UTIs on a regular basis, and they will often become resistant to antibiotics because they have so many bladder infections. Doctors unfortunately often prescribe antibiotics when they are not needed. Do not let your doctor over-prescribe you antibiotics, as you will become resistant as the years go on, and you could get a very bad UTI that could lead to sepsis.

Instead, wait to get any antibiotics for a bladder infection until you have a fever. This can prevent you from becoming resistant to important antibiotics. And if you do need to go on antibiotics for a bladder infection, make sure to monitor your symptoms so that they are not getting worse. This too can lead to the same situation as a skin infection, where the UTI can get into the bloodstream and cause death.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis

 The good news is that there are many signs and symptoms of sepsis that you can see before it is too late. You'll want to make sure you memorize these symptoms, as your life may one day depend on it. Here is a list of the most common symptoms of sepsis:

  • A Fever
  • You become lethargic, anxious or agitated
  • You have no interest in food
  • Your hands and feet are colder than normal
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • A high heart rate
  • You are sensitive to light
If you notice any of these signs and you have a UTI, a pressure sore or an infection in the intestines or gut, go to the ER right away or call 911. And in the future, always be on top of your health to avoid sepsis. Remember to keep wounds covered until they're healed, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly and try your best to maintain a healthy body weight, which all help keep your immune system strong.

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