What is Sepsis? sep

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by you body's response to an infection. You immune system protects you from many illnesses and infections, but also possible for it to go into overdrive in response to an infection. 

Click Here to Watch What is Sepsis video clip

Who is at risk of Sepsis?

Although some people have a higher risk of infection, anyone can get Sepsis. People who are at risk include:

  • Young children and seniors 
  • People with weaker immune systems, such as those with HIV or those in chemotherapy treatment for cancer
  • People being treated in an intensive care unit (ICU)
  • People exposed to invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes 

Symptoms in Children under 5 years

Go straight to A&E OR call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms

looks mottled, bluish or pale

is very lethargic or difficult to wake

feels abnormally cold to touch

is breathing very fast

has a rash that does not fade when you press it

had a fit or convulsion

For more on when to get medical advice urgently from NHS 111 Click Here

Sepsis in older children and adults

Early Symptoms

Early symptoms of Sepsis may include:

  • A high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • Chills and shivering
  • A fast heart beat
  • Fast breathing

Many of the symptoms of Sepsis are also associated with Meningitis. The First symptoms of meningitis are often fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell.

For more information on the symptoms of meningitis - click here

What causes Sepsis? 

Any infection can trigger Sepsis, but the following types of infections are more likely to cause Sepsis: 

  • Pneumonia
  • Abdominal Infection
  • Kidney Infection
  • Bloodstream Infection

Treatments of Sepsis

If Sepsis is detected early and hasn't affected vital organs, it may be possible to treat the infection at home with antibiotics. Most people who have Sepsis detected at this stage make a full recovery.

Almost all people with severe Sepsis and Septic shock require admission to hospital. Some people may require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). 

Because of problems with vital organs, people with severe sepsis and likely to be very ill and the condition can be fatal. However, sepsis is treatable if it is identified and treated quickly, and in most cases leads to a full recovery with no lasting problems. 

Read more about Treating Sepsis

Recovering from Sepsis

Some people make a full recovery fairly quickly. The amount of time it takes to fully receive from sepsis varies, depending on:

  • The severity of the sepsis
  • The persons overall health
  • How much time was spent in hospital
  • Whether treatment was needed in an ICU

Some people experience long-term physical and/or psychological problems during their recovery period, such as:

  • Feeling lethargic or excessively tired
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swollen limbs or joint pain
  • Chest pain or breathlessness

Those long-term problems are known as post-sepsis syndrome. Not everyone experiences these problems. 

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