Today, September 13, is the World Sepsis Day. Every year, around 49 million people suffer from sepsis and around 11 million die. Sepsis always starts with an infection and is the number one preventable cause of death in the world which is why this condition has been allocated a day of its own. The purpose of this day is to educate, increase awareness and spread facts about sepsis, about the symptoms and how to prevent it.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is a serious condition that happens when the body’s immune system has an extreme response to an infection. Sepsis can affect anyone, but people who are older, very young, pregnant or have other health problems are at higher risk. The body’s reaction causes damage to its own tissues and organs. Common signs of sepsis include fever, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, confusion and body pain. It can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and worst case, even death. Sepsis is usually caused by bacterial infections but may be the result of other infections such as viruses, parasites or fungi. Early diagnosis and timely and appropriate clinical management of sepsis, such as optimal antimicrobial use and fluid resuscitation, are crucial to increase the likelihood of survival.
It is estimated that up to 50 percent of all cases of sepsis can be attributed to healthcare associated infections (HAI), where urinary tract infection is one of the most common sources of sepsis as well as pneumonia and catheter related bloodstream infection. Consequently, preventing healthcare associated infections is crucial for reducing the occurrence of sepsis.
What are the symptoms?
Below symptoms or signs may indicate a sepsis condition. Speed is of the essence and a person with symptoms of suspected sepsis should immediately seek medical care – every minute counts.
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain/fever
- Passing no urine all day
- Severe breathlessness
- It feels like you are going to die
- Skin mottled or discoloured
Studies investigating survival and sepsis deaths have reported slightly different numbers, but it appears that on average, approximately 30 percent of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis do not survive. Up to 50 percent of survivors suffer from post-sepsis syndrome. Until a cure for sepsis is found, early detection and treatment is essential for survival and limiting disability for survivors.