Today’s pearl is about how a salicylate overdose may present similarly to sepsis.
Since time of the essence in a salicylate overdose, early identification may be life-saving.
Salicylate toxicity isn’t as common as it once was and it can look a lot like sepsis (tachycardia, tachypnea, elevated temperature, altered mental status, acidosis, etc), particularly in older adults. In this patient population, consider sending a salicylate level with the initial set of sepsis labs. Even though the test may seem ‘low-yield,’ early identification and treatment of salicylate poisoning is vital, even if it is a less common cause for suspected sepsis.