Why you should know the warning signs for sepsis

Each year in Ireland, sepsis is responsible for a shocking 60% of hospital deaths. [1] This is why this life-threatening health condition is one that should not be overlooked.

Sepsis sometimes referred to as blood poisoning, happens when an infection in your body triggers your immune system to turn against itself to harm your body’s tissues and even cause organ failure.

The reason this happens is because a localized infection in your body has spread toxic substances into the bloodstream. The immune system tries to fight the spread but instead becomes overactive and causes widespread inflammation.  This results in sepsis shock causing a severe drop in your blood levels leading to oxygen not being able to reach tissues and organs.

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of sepsis usually starting in the lungs, from a cut/wound, in the gastrointestinal and urinary tract.

The best way to help protect yourself if you get sepsis is by knowing the warning signs. Studies show that 80% of deaths relating to sepsis could be avoided with early treatment and diagnosis. [2]

That is why it is crucial that you are aware of the following early warning signs for sepsis and septic shock in adults.

Early warning signs for sepsis are:
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Fever
  • Shivering/chills
  • Heartbeat beating faster
  • Feeling unwell
Symptoms of septic shock are:
  • Vomiting
  • Nasua
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hypotension which makes you feel weak and dizzy and lightheaded when you stand up
  • Clammy or sweaty skin
  • Confusion
  • Muscle pain
  • Speech is slurred
  • Peeing less than they usually would

Getting treatment for sepsis as early as possible can help save your life. Research even shows that “every hour treatment is delayed, the risk of death increases by as much as 8%.”[3]

Risk groups for sepsis

Although anyone can get sepsis from an infection, there is a certain risk group that has a higher chance of developing it.

This risk group includes older people, young children, people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems and someone who had surgery not that long ago.

How to prevent sepsis?

The first place to start to help prevent sepsis is by reducing your chances of infections from entering your body by understanding the following.

  • Regularly wash your hands properly using soap and water
  • Stay up to date with the appropriate vaccines
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Take antibiotics correctly
  • Take care of wounds properly

The bottom line is that sepsis is a life-threatening health condition that should be taken seriously. Knowing the warning signs and how to help prevent sepsis can help save your life.

How do I make an appointment at Hazelhill Family Practice?

To book your appointment at Hazelhill Family Practice click here.

You can also call the Hazelhill Family Practice on 094 9630091/ 094 9632170.




[1] https://www.rcsi.com/impact/details/2022/03/developing-a-new-treatment-for-patients-with-sepsis

[2] https://sdaho.org/2022/08/25/september-is-sepsis-awareness-month

[3] https://sdaho.org/2022/08/25/september-is-sepsis-awareness-month

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