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Why Hypothermia is a Bad Sign in Sepsis

Often, a systemic infection like sepsis will cause a patient to develop a high fever as part of the body’s immune system response. In some cases, though, a patient will develop hypothermia, or low body temperature instead.

When an individual develops hypothermia during sepsis, there is an increased risk of fatality than when a patient develops a fever. The reason body temperature can change is the body normally “resets” itself at a higher preferred temperature and begins to expend energy keeping the body warmer as a means of fighting infection. When this does not happen or when the body resets at a colder temperature, the body is at a disadvantage because decreased blood flow and circulation already occurs with blood vessel dilation with sepsis, and cold temperature further decreases this blood flow.

Although further research is needed, hypothermia during sepsis can be indicative of larger immune system problems and an ominous course.

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