Sepsis occurs when tissue in an injury or wound becomes infected, developing toxins which can spread rapidly through your body. It causes your immune system to go into overdrive, starting off a chain reaction of inflammation, swelling and blood clots.
Sepsis can be a life threatening condition so it is important to quickly spot the signs as it can lead to organ failure, and even death.
In the UK, around 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis and around 37,000 people will die from it.
Other infections that can cause Sepsis include:
- An infection with the abdomen
- Lung infection
- Infections of the brain or nervous system (e.g. meningitis)
- Skin infections (e.g. cellulitis or from a catheter)
- Gallbladder infection (e.g. cholangitis)
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder infections
- Post-surgery infections
- Flu (although less common)
However, some people may get Sepsis from a smaller cut or injury. It’s important that you understand signs and symptoms of sepsis so that you can get immediate help. The sooner it is treated, the more effectively it can be treated.
Symptoms of Sepsis
If you develop Sepsis, it sends your body’s immune system into overdrive, creating reactions around the body including; swelling, blood clotting and widespread inflammation.
Once Sepsis develops, it can lead to low blood pressure, which prevents the blood supply from reaching vital organs, such as the heart, brain and kidneys.
Symptoms associated with Sepsis can develop rapidly, so as soon as you identify the symptoms, you need to contact your local GP or visit your local hospital, depending on what symptoms are showing.
- A high temperature
- Fast breathing
- Fast heartbeat
If you have a severe case of Sepsis, or are in septic shock (which includes low blood pressure), symptoms can include:
- Feeling sick
- Feeling dizzy and faint
- Severe pain in the muscles
- Confusion and disorientation
- Clammy, cold or pale skin
- Loss of consciousness
- Unusual decrease in urine production
If you believe you have sepsis, please contact your local GP or ring 111 to get advice.
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