Sepsis

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life threatening condition which occurs when the body’s immune system over reacts and attacks the body’s organs and tissues. The body’s immune system protects you from lots of illnesses and infections.

Sepsis develops when the chemicals that the immune system releases into the blood to fight an infection and causes the inflammation to spread throughout the body. If the sepsis is severe it can trigger septic shock.

Arond 250,000 people are affected by Sepsis each year in the UK, around 46,000 of those people die from the condition, thats around 126 aday or 5 every hour.

Who can get it?

Anyone can get Sepsis it does not discriminate over age or gender, but some people are more vunerable than others. Such as those who have a medical condition or having medical treatment, or may have a serious illness or recent surgery, or has had an accident and as a result has wounds or injuries.

How can you spot it?

Sepsis is difficult to spot and can have similar symptoms to flu, a chest infection, or stomach bug. There is no particular signs because symptoms vary between young and old. Sometimes these symptoms can be confused with meningitis because the symptoms are similar so can cause confusion and late diagnosis by a medical professional.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include;

  • A fever type temperture, or feeling cold symptoms similar to the flu
  • Raised heart rate
  • Discolouration skin patches
  • Breathing difficult
  • Unconsciousness
  • Not passing water
  • Feelining very weak, similar to having very bad flu

What can cause Sepsis?

Any infection can trigger Sepsis but the most common triggers are a blood infection, kidney infection, abdominal infection, or pneumonia.

Is it contagious?

This is not contagious, although if Sepsis was caused by an infection then the infection could well be infectious.

How is it diagnosed?

A doctor takes blood samples to carry out some tests to determine if you have Sepsis or something else with similar symptoms.

Can it be treated

If is caught early enough then antibiotics can be used to fight the infection and many people make a full recovery although it may take a while to get back to full health.

Can you prevent it?

You can take steps to reduce the likelihood  of contracting this life threatening disease such as;

  • Good personal hygiene
  • Keeping up to date with current vacinations such as flu jabs
  • If you have a wound keep it clean and dry and consult a doctor for possible treatment.

What can you do if you suspect you have it?

Go to A&E or call 999/112 and tell them if you have had any recent injuries or infections and they will be able to advise on what to do next.

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