Why the emergency?

One person dies from sepsis every five minutes in the UK.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection within the body which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. The infection can start anywhere in the body; it may be only in one area, or it may be widespread.

The immune system usually works to fight any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi), or to prevent infection. Sometimes the immune system goes into overdrive and starts to attack organs and other tissues. It can happen as a response to any injury or infection, anywhere in the body. It can result from:

  • a chest infection causing pneumonia
  • a urine infection in the bladder
  • a problem in the abdomen, such as a burst ulcer or a hole in the bowel
  • an infected cut or bite
  • a wound from trauma or surgery
  • a leg ulcer or cellulitis

What should we be looking for?

A child may have sepsis if they:
  • Are breathing very fast
  • Has a fit or convulsion
  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Are very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feel abnormally cold to touch
An adult may have sepsis if he or she shows any of these symptoms:
  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you are going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

What should we do if we suspect sepsis?

Early recognition and treatment with antibiotics are crucial, with most patients surviving as a result. If sepsis is suspected call 999 and tell them you think it might be sepsis. If you are concerned about an infection, call your GP or 111 and ask if it could be sepsis.

Remember early treatment may be the difference between life and death.

The information provided here has been taken from The UK Sepsis Trust. Please visit their website for more information.

Should you wish to learn more about Emergency First Aid, First Aid or indeed would like to take a refresher course, please view our range of courses.

Email: info@tlct.co.uk Call: 01143570182  Facebook @tlct.co.uk