Learning About Sepsis in Newborns

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What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a reaction of your baby's body to widespread infection. It's a serious illness. It needs to be treated in the hospital.

Newborns may get sepsis because their immune systems aren't strong enough yet. So they can't fight off some infections.

Your baby may have had an infection such as:

  • Group B streptococcus.
  • Meningitis.
  • Herpes.
  • Pneumococcus.
  • A urinary tract infection.

The doctor will quickly try to find the cause of your baby's infection and then treat it.

What can you expect when your baby has sepsis?

You may see tubes and wires attached to your baby. This can be scary to see. But these things help the doctor treat your baby.

The tubes supply air, fluid, and medicines to your baby. The wires are attached to machines that help the doctor keep track of your baby's vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and breathing.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Being very sleepy and hard to wake up.
  • Having a fever or low body temperature.
  • Fast breathing or heartbeat.
  • Having little or no urine.

How is sepsis treated?

While the doctor looks for the cause of the sepsis, he or she will provide the care your baby needs.

If your baby has trouble breathing, the doctor may use a ventilator. This is a machine that helps your baby breathe or that breathes for your baby. Doctors most often attach the ventilator to a tube they put into the baby's windpipe (trachea) through the mouth or nose.

The doctor will give your baby antibiotics if the infection is caused by bacteria.

Sepsis can lower blood pressure. The doctor may use medicine to help raise your baby's blood pressure.

Your baby will be kept comfortable and warm while being treated. The hospital staff is well prepared to care for babies with this condition. They will do everything they can to help.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 26, 2016