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02.09.2020

Sepsis Awareness Month

Sepsis is a rare but serious reaction to an infection. If you get an infection, your body’s immune system responds by trying to fight it. Sepsis is when this immune system response becomes overactive and starts to cause damage to the body itself.

It can be hard to tell if you have sepsis. You might not even have a fever or high temperature, you may just feel very unwell.

Sepsis needs to be treated urgently because it can quickly get worse and lead to septic shock.

Septic shock is very serious, as it can cause organ failure and death.

Anyone with an infection can get sepsis. But some people have a higher chance of getting it than others.

Call 999 if a baby or young child shows any of these symptoms

  • blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
  • difficulty breathing (you may notice grunting noises or their stomach sucking under their ribcage), breathlessness or breathing very fast
  • a weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their normal cry
  • not responding like they normally do, or not interested in feeding or normal activities
  • being sleepier than normal or difficult to wake

They may not have all of these symptoms. See Parents guide here

Call 999 if an older child or Adult has any of these symptoms

  • acting confused, slurred speech or not making sense
  • blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
  • difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast

They may not have all of these symptoms.

Who is more at risk of sepsis?

  • babies younger than 1 year
  • people over 75
  • people who are frail
  • people with diabetes
  • people with weak immune systems
  • people who are having chemotherapy treatment
  • women who have just given birth or recently been pregnant (including those who have had a miscarriage or abortion)
  • people who have recently had surgery
  • people who have recently had a serious illness.

Babies are also more at risk if they were born prematurely or their mother had an infection while she was pregnant. This can be any type of infection, including very mild ones.

If your baby has suspected sepsis and you know you had an infection when you were pregnant you should tell your healthcare professional, even if you think it might not be important.

For further information visit The Sepsis Trust  or NHS.uk

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