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"What is blood poisoning?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is blood poisoning?


My doctor said I have an infection in my muscle. But she is really nervous that it could turn into a blood infection. She didn't say much about that though. What the heck is a blood infection? How would they fix that if I get it?


A blood infection is when infection from another part of the body spreads into the blood. This is very serious, obviously, because it can then travel to any other part of the body. If it travels to other parts of the body, it can "grab on" to certain areas of the body (such as some of the heart valves) that have been traumatized or are damaged and can "seed" these areas with bacteria. Should this happen, there is then a concern that the bacteria can create a "biofilm" which can then make them almost completely resistant to antibiotics by forming a barrier over the surface. In some rare cases, the only intervention that can be completed at that time is complete surgical removal of the affected area. Obviously, that is a much bigger deal than just treating a muscle infection with some antibiotics, and describes the reason that doctors are often very aggressive at treating things that may seem small to patients. All of those long, sleepless years of training with little pay in large hospitals help doctors to see just how bad things can rarely get, and help us to do everything we can to keep our patients away from those complications. Please continue to follow up with your doctor as advised.

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