World Sepsis Day: Signs and symptoms of the life-threatening condition you need to look out for
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Sepsis kills five people in the UK every hour, but this can be prevented if caught early enough.
So, just what is the condition and what are the symptoms you should be looking out for?
The UK Sepsis Trust gives this help and advice:
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.
It occurs when the body’s immune system, which normally helps to protect us and fight infection, goes into overdrive. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and sometimes death, especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.
Sepsis is indiscriminate. While it primarily affects very young children and older adults, and is also more common in people with underlying health conditions, it can sometimes be triggered in those who are otherwise fit and healthy.
Sepsis always starts with an infection, and can be triggered by any infection including chest infections and UTIs. It is not known why some people develop sepsis in response to these common infections whereas others don’t.
There is no single sign and no single diagnostic test – symptoms can also present differently in adults and children.
In adults, seek medical help urgently if you, or another adult, develops slurred speech or confusion, extreme shivering or muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness, skin mottled or discoloured.
In children, a child may have sepsis if he or she is breathing very fast, has a fit or convulsion, looks mottled, bluish or pale, has a rash that DOES NOT fade when you press it, is very lethargic or difficult to wake, feels abnormally cold to touch.
Children under five may have sepsis if he or she isn’t feeding, is vomiting repeatedly, has not passed urine for 12 hours.
The UK Sepsis Trust says if you spot any of these signs, call 999 or go straight to A&E and just ask “could it be sepsis?”
Can sepsis be treated?
Sepsis can be treated with appropriate treatment such as antibiotics – this should be given as soon as possible.