What Is Sepsis?
Sepsis is the extreme inflammatory response in your body frequently caused by a bacterial or viral infection, such as pneumonia or influenza, but can also be caused by parasitic or fungal infections. Your body’s immune system, which is supposed to fight off infection, goes into overdrive and, instead, begins to attack your body. Sepsis is your body’s toxic response to the infection. When it causes organs to fail, it is called severe sepsis. When it is accompanied by low blood pressure, it is called septic shock and carries the highest risk of death and complications.
Who is Affected by Sepsis?
While this condition is more likely to affect very young children, older adults, people with chronic diseases, and those with weakened immune system, sepsis is an equal opportunity illness that affects anyone of any social status, age, gender, ethnicity, or beliefs.
Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose because it occurs quickly and can be confused with other conditions. Watch for a combination of the following symptoms.
S Shivering, fever, or very cold
E Extreme pain or general discomfort (“worst ever”)
P Pale or discolored skin
S Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused
I “I feel like I might die!”
S Short of breath
If you suspect sepsis, see a doctor urgently, CALL 911 or go to a hospital and say, “I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SEPSIS.”
Sepsis is a medical emergency and must be treated quickly and properly for survival. Luckily, if found quickly enough, you or your loved one can survive sepsis!
There are more than 1.4 million sepsis survivors every year in the U.S. alone. Depending on how quickly sepsis is found and treated, there may be life-changing challenges. Some of these challenges could include missing limbs or organ dysfunction, while other less serious effects could include memory loss or the inability to do simple arithmetic. Effects of sepsis depend on how long it can take for a body’s organs to begin working properly again and varies widely between people, so speed of diagnosis and treatment is vital to a more positive outcome.
Sepsis Awareness at Tri-State
Tri-State Memorial Hospital & Medical Campus realizes the need to quickly spot sepsis symptoms and initiate treatment in patients. While we have always been vigilant in actively looking for sepsis symptoms in our patients, we have recently initiated a campus-wide awareness program to further educate our staff, patients, and visitors on the signs of sepsis and the need for immediate action.
With collaboration between nursing staff, physicians, department directors, and administration, our goal is to make sure our patients or family know to ask about sepsis if they feel there are symptoms and that our staff takes even more care in looking for signs and symptoms for sepsis when caring for our patients.
Together with your help, we feel we can make a positive difference between life and death or life-altering complications by diagnosing and treating sepsis as quickly as possible.