Blood poisoning is a common term sometimes used to describe sepsis – it’s an old term used over generations. A doctor or nurse may say “blood poisoning” because this is a term many people are familiar with. But blood poisoning is not an accurate description of sepsis, and the two terms should not be used interchangeably.
Sepsis is not an infection in and of itself. Sepsis is the body’s life-threatening response to infection. Like strokes or heart attacks, sepsis is a medical emergency that requires rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Sepsis and septic shock can result from an infection anywhere in the body, such as pneumonia, influenza, or urinary tract infections. Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die. Many who survive are left with life-changing effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction (organs don’t work properly), and/or amputations.
Sepsis Alliance. Sepsis and Blood Poisoning. 2023. https://www.sepsis.org/sepsisand/blood-poisoning/
Updated November 22, 2023.