World Sepsis Day: What You Need to Know about Sepsis

13th September marks World Sepsis Day. Sepsis is a scary condition- every 3-4 seconds, somebody is killed by sepsis. These deaths, however, are often preventable. Here’s the run down of everything you need to know about sepsis:

So, what is sepsis?

  • Sepsis is when the body responds to an infection by injuring tissues and organs.

What causes sepsis?

  • Most micro-organisms can cause sepsis. If it’s been a while since you’ve done GCSE biology, that includes bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. That means sepsis can be caused by, among other things, the flu, pneumonia, and, yep, ‘rona.

What are the symptoms of sepsis?

The symptoms of sepsis can be remembered in a handy acrostic:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain, fever

Passing no urine in a day

Severe breathlessness

It feels like you’re going to die

Skin mottled or discolored (including the type of rash associated with meningitis)

Is sepsis fatal?

  • Sadly, sepsis can be fatal: 1 in 5 people infected will die. Survival largely depends on successful treatment of the infection that led to sepsis. Early treatment is vital.

Can I get sepsis?

  • Yep, anyone can get sepsis. There are, however, some groups that are more vulnerable than others. These include:

    • Children under 1

    • Adults over 60

    • People with no spleen

    • People with chronic diseases

    • People with weakened immune systems

How can you prevent sepsis?

  • The best way to prevent sepsis is by preventing infection in the first place. That means practicing good hygiene, and, sorry anti-vaxxers, being vaccinated.

  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is also a major issue. Overuse of antibiotics in healthcare and in factory farming have resulted in the drastic increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria.

So, after you’ve been treated for sepsis, that’s it?

  • Unfortunately not. Sepsis survivors can suffer with Post-Sepsis Syndrome (PSS). The symptoms of PSS include:

    • Sadness

    • Difficulty swallowing

    • Muscle weakness

    • Clouded thinking

    • Difficulty sleeping

    • Poor Memory

    • Difficulty Concentrating

    • Fatigue

    • Anxiety

If you believe you might have sepsis, it is important that you contact the hospital immediately. You can find more about World Sepsis Day at: https://www.worldsepsisday.org/