What causes septicemia?
Septicemia is caused by an infection in another part of your body. This infection is typically severe. Many types of bacteria can lead to septicemia. The exact source of the infection often can’t be determined. The most common infections that lead to septicemia are:
urinary tract infections
lung infections, such as pneumonia
infections in the abdominal area
Bacteria from these infections enter the bloodstream and multiply rapidly, causing immediate symptoms.
People who are already in the hospital for something else, such as a surgery, are at a higher risk of developing septicemia. Secondary infections can occur while in the hospital. These infections are often more dangerous because the bacteria may already be resistant to antibiotics. You’re also at a higher risk of developing septicemia if you:
have severe wounds or burns
are very young or very old
have a compromised immune system, which can occur from diseases such as HIV or leukemia
have a urinary or intravenous catheter
are on mechanical ventilation
are receiving medical treatments that weaken your immune system, such as chemotherapy or steroid injections