Is it Sepsis? Don't Wait to Find Out.
This is a post prepared under a contract funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and written on behalf of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network for use in CDC’s Get Ahead of Sepsis educational effort. Opinions on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CDC.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening, and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis happens when an infection you already have—in your skin, lungs, urinary tract or somewhere else—triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. This could include small skin infections from a bug bite, a burn, or any injury to the skin.
For yourself, and as a caregiver, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of sepsis. If you or someone you love has a chronic medical condition, such as an autoimmune disease, you need to pay special attention to infections that aren't improving.
Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Certain people are at higher risk:
- Adults 65 or older
- People with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease
- People with weakened immune system
- Children younger than one
We've often shared about our personal struggles with a “bad” diabetic. Bad refers to the fact that he won't go see a doctor. The typical excuse is that he doesn't have time, he doesn't have insurance, or he just doesn't like hospitals. It's frustrating and upsetting to the family. Not just our immediate family with young children, but to his older children, his parents, my parents, and anyone who cares about him.
I knew that diabetics had an increased risk of skin infections in the legs and feet, but I wasn't aware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
So, I'm warning and begging all of you who have loved ones, (that's every one of you) please be aware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis. Sepsis is life-threatening and without timely treatment sepsis can rapidly cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Time matters.
Know the signs and symptoms of sepsis
Sepsis signs and symptoms can include one or a combination of the following:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one suspects sepsis or has an infection that's not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, "Could this infection be leading to sepsis?"
To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit www.cdc.gov/sepsis.
For more information about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.