WHAT IS IT:

Sepsis is a severe life-threatening reaction to infection where the bodies defence responses overwhelm it.  A complex and dysregulated immune (defense) response occurring in the body causes entire system shutdown instead of protecting us, as intended. 

Sepsis kills over 44,000 people annually in the UK, which is more than the annual total deaths from breast, bowel and prostate cancer. Responding within the “Golden Hour” can be lifesaving. 

When the body is dealing with an infection, the immune responses can become so intense that they overwhelm the bodies’ ability to function. The very processes that are there to protect us can overdraw on the bodies resources resulting in crisis, potential organ failure and death. With Sepsis, the bacteria or viruses that initiated the response can be infectious, not Sepsis itself. You can't ‘catch’ Sepsis.

There are three stages of severity with Septic Shock being the most serious, with a 50% mortality rate.

TRIGGERS:

  • A break or invasion of the skin’s surface, such as a cut

  • A pathway into the body via invasive devices, breathing tubes, invasive treatments or IV catheters 

  • Kidney infection

  • Bloodstream infection

  • Pneumonia

  • Abdominal infection 

  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infection

SYMPTOMS INCLUDE TWO OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING

  • A fever (above 38ºC)

  • A chill (below 36ºC)

  • A fast heart rate (heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute)

  • A high breathing rate (higher than 20 breaths per minute)

  • An infection (likely or confirmed)

SEVERE SEPSIS

In addition to the above one or more of the following:

  • Changes in mental ability (confusion or disorientation)

  • Decrease in urination (not urinating ever day)

  • Diarrhoea

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Slurred speech

  • Low platelet count (decreased blood clotting)

  • Severe breathlessness  

  • Abnormal heart functions

  • Extreme weakness

  • Fall in body temperature and chill

  • Feeling dizzy or faint

  • Severe muscle pain

  • Cold, clammy, pale or mottled skin

  • Loss of consciousness

SEPTIC SHOCK

In addition to the above also:

  • Very low blood pressure

If you are concerned immediately contact your doctor, hospital or emergency services. 

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