How does Sepsis begin?
When you’re sick, your immune system works to fight any germs that may be present in your body. If you develop an infection, your immune system will try to fight it, though you may need help with antibiotics or other medications. Sepsis is when your body stops fighting invading germs and turns on itself.
Symptoms of Sepsis
Sepsis is a medical emergency, and must be treated quickly and properly. This is tricky, because most sepsis symptoms are very subtle and can present as the flu or another type of virus. Early detection of these symptoms, even by a family member who alerts a doctor or nurse, can potentially save a patient from entering septic shock and could save a life. The main symptoms of sepsis are:
– Shivers, chills, fever, or feeling very cold
– Extreme pain (10 on a scale from 1-10) or general discomfort
– Pale or discolored skin
– Sleepy or difficult to rouse or disoriented
– “I feel like I might die” feeling
– Shortness of breath
While sepsis is the third leading cause of death in the United States and leads to over a quarter of a million deaths per year, the symptoms are still not well-known. Sepsis Awareness Month strives to bring information to the public about this dangerous condition and encourages people to speak up if they suspect sepsis. Time is of the essence when treating sepsis, so be sure to speak up as soon as possible if you suspect it.
Sepsis is a dangerous condition that can lead to organ failure and death. More than half of people who do survive sepsis are left with lingering effects that may interrupt their lives.
Who is at risk for Sepsis?
Sepsis is triggered by an infection somewhere in the body, so in essence anyone with an infection is at risk for sepsis. However, there are groups of people who are at a higher risk, mainly the very young, the very old, and those with immune disorders. You can decrease your chances of infection by practicing common infection control techniques, like frequent hand washing, taking prescribed medication as ordered by your physician, get all required vaccinations and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Learn more about Sepsis Awareness Month here.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article, including text and images, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a medical service. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.