A UK mother recently shared her unsettling close-call with sepsis. The condition accounts for over 1 million hospitalizations in the USA and remains one of the top 10 killing diseases in America. (1) Make sure you can recognize the early warning signs, including this mom’s important example.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is an inappropriate immune response to an injury or illness. In the case of sepsis, the chemicals that the body’s immune system releases cause full-body inflammation rather than targeting a specific wound. (2)
Sepsis has three main stages: (3)
- Sepsis: An infection enters the bloodstream and triggers body-wide inflammation.
- Severe sepsis: Infection affects organ function.
- Septic shock: Blood pressure drops, leading to respiratory failure, heart failure, stroke, organ failure, and in some cases, death.
Although anyone can get sepsis, people who are more vulnerable to sepsis are pregnant women, older adults, young children, and immunocompromised people. It’s not uncommon to develop sepsis in the hospital while being treated for a separate issue because of the body’s weakened state and potential exposure to infections. (4)
UK Mom Catches Child’s Sepsis Early
“A week or so ago, the littlest fell over at the zoo,” she began in a Facebook post.
“He took quite a bashing, but once we got home, I cleaned him up.
“The wounds didn’t look infected- they’d got bigger so I was concerned but they weren’t gunky etc.
“Yesterday on our way to the beach he showed me his hand. I wasn’t happy as I noticed red tracking down his vein. I then checked his elbow – the same.
“When the [urgent care] doctor saw it, he commended me on [recognizing] it and getting down ASAP. This is blood poisoning / sepsis. It isn’t something you can ‘leave’ until Monday when the doctors are back in the office.”
She finished by writing, “If you spot this red line running from a wound along the vein get yourself/ your child seen straight away. Hopefully my post might help someone the way my friend’s post from 2 years ago helped me!”
Ruddy has since restricted her Facebook privacy settings after her story went viral, but we are grateful to her for initially sharing her experience in an effort to raise awareness.
Other Symptoms of Sepsis
Early signs of sepsis include: (2)
- Fever above 101ºF (38ºC)
- Or temperature below 96.8ºF (36ºC)
- Heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
- Breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
Signs of severe sepsis include: (2)
- patches of discolored skin
- decreased urination
- changes in cognition
- low platelet count
- breathing problems
- abnormal heart functions
- shivering, chills
- extreme weakness
Signs of septic shock include extremely low blood pressure along with the symptoms of severe sepsis. (2)
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.
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