E.g., 10/2017
E.g., 10/2017

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Sepsis 101

Last month was Sepsis Awareness Month and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an educational campaign aimed at informing and protecting us from the devastating effects of sepsis. The Get Ahead of Sepsis initiative emphasizes the importance of early sepsis recognition and treatment, as well as encouraging infection prevention in order to eliminate the development of sepsis. 

What is Sepsis? 

Anyone can be susceptible to sepsis. It develops when an untreated or insufficiently treated infection lingers and triggers an extreme response throughout the body. Without timely treatment, sepsis can be life-threatening by causing rapid tissue damage and organ failure. In many cases, leading to death.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, each year in the U.S., more than 75,000 infants and children develop severe sepsis. 

Get Ahead of Sepsis 

The key to beating sepsis is awareness and early treatment. For most patients, initial infections that can lead to sepsis develop outside of the hospital; therefore, it is crucial for all of us to be mindful of the dangers of sepsis and to be alert to all of the sepsis symptoms. 

The CDC urges patients and parents to actively work to prevent infections, but to seek immediate medical care if an existing infection does not improve or gets worse. Remember, sepsis is a medical emergency and time is of the essence! 

You can Get Ahead of Sepsis by: 

  • Knowing the symptoms of sepsis 
  • Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing and keeping cuts clean until healed 
  • Taking care of chronic conditions 
  • Getting recommended vaccines 
  • ACT FAST. Get medical care as soon as possible if you suspect you or a loved one could be developing sepsis.

Warning signs of Sepsis 

You should talk to your doctor immediately if you or your child has an infection that is not getting better and experiences any combination of the following: 

  • Confusions or disorientation or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath or fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate 
  • Fever or low temperature (in particular, newborns and infants may have low temperatures)
  • Extreme pain or discomfort 
  • Clammy and pale skin 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling cold, chills and/or cold extremities

Getting Ahead of Sepsis can save lives!

Post by:

Charles G. Macias, MD, MPH

Dr. Macias has had a long-time interest in quality improvement and has had a local, regional and national impact on improving healthcare infrastructures and their quality of care delivery. He is the Chief Clinical Systems Integration Officer for the Texas Children’s enterprise, leading the...

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