If you had cut on your finger and the skin around it started to swell and turn red, you can guess that your cut is getting infected. This inflammation happens because the localized bacteria cause our immune system to release cytokines, which cause our blood vessels to dilate, resulting in localized redness, swelling, and pain. The dilation of vessels allows more blood containing bacteria-fighting cells to pass through the area under attack, an important part of your body’s natural ability to heal. However, sepsis may also occur.

Sepsis occurs when these local bacteria spread to other parts of the body or systemic reaction occurs diffusely in the body, resulting in a systemic inflammatory response. Dilated blood vessels may significantly decrease blood flow to certain organs or may result in a significant drop in blood pressure, leading to a state known as septic shock.