This is a post prepared under a contract funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and written on behalf of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network for use in CDC’s Get Ahead of Sepsis educational effort. Opinions on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CDC.
The first time I heard about sepsis was over 20 years ago when I was in nursing school. Now I hear about someone I know having sepsis on a fairly regular basis. As a registered nurse, I understand how serious sepsis can be. But, I don't think this is something that most non-healthcare professionals realize. You need to know the truth about sepsis and how it can affect your family.
The Truth About Sepsis and How It Can Affect Your Family
What is Sepsis
I talk to a lot of people who don't even know what sepsis is or have never heard of it.
Sepsis is the body's extreme response to an infection. The bottom line is that sepsis is life-threatening. Without treatment, sepsis can quickly cause tissue damage, organ failure and death.
At least 250,000 Americans die each year from sepsis.
Infections Put You and Your Family at Risk for Sepsis
Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis.
We know that anyone can get an infection, right? Well, sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. This could be any kind of infection such as in your skin, lungs, urinary tract, etc.
Almost any infection can lead to sepsis.
How Can You Protect Your Family
The first step in protecting yourself and your family from sepsis is to learn about sepsis.
Next you need to be aware of infections that are not getting better or are getting worse and take these infections seriously! It can start from a seemingly innocent infection that doesn't resolve. Don't put off going to the doctor for unresolved infections. Remember that acting FAST could save a life!
Try to prevent infections whenever possible.
Lastly, you need to know the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
Symptoms of Sepsis
There are several symptoms of sepsis and a person could have ONE of these symptoms or a combination.
The symptoms of sepsis are:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Preventing Sepsis is Personal
I know several people personally who have lost a loved one to sepsis. These deaths were UNEXPECTED. Some of these people had been in good health until they got an infection that didn't go away and led to sepsis.
Preventing sepsis is personal to me and I want to make sure the general public understands how life-threatening sepsis really can be.
Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one suspect sepsis or has an infection that is not getting better or is getting worse, then ask your doctor, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”
To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit www.cdc.gov/sepsis.
For more information about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.
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Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
This is such important information to know. Sepsis is so dangerous, and knowing the symptoms could save a life!
My grandmother actually past away from sepsis. It’s scary!
Melissa Chapman says
My husband tells me that sepsis is a terible illness but usually affects people who are in or were in a hospital usually. It does seem like a deadly syndrome so we all should take infections seriously.
robin rue says
My mom had sepsis a few times. She had bad cellulitis infections on her legs and sometimes she didn’t get to the hospital in time.
Claudia Krusch says
This is such important information to know. I’ve never heard of Sepsis! It sounds so dangerous!
Cyn Gagen says
Wow. This is really important information. I stay pretty well informed but I’ve never seen exactly what to look out for before and I’m glad to have this info at hand now.
Pam Wattenbarger says
My son was just telling me some sepsis facts, actually. I had no idea that it was as common as it is.
Chrissy Taylor says
I know too many people who have been septic after being in the hospital. It’s scary stuff!
Bianca Dottin says
I’ve heard of sepsis, but never realized it can be life-threatening! This is extremely vital information to have on hand!
This is a very serious matter that people don’t stop and think about very often. What a great way to raise awareness and get people to stop and think. It really can happen to anyone!
Mommy Moment says
I have heard of sepsis before, but never really knew what it was or that it could come from ANY infection. This is really good and important information to know. Thank you for sharing.
Lisa Favre says
I couldn’t agree more – once you see an infection, it’s best to just go see your doctor before it turns into anything damaging! This is so important for families to act on.
Nicole Lutzy says
I have never heard of sepsis before. Sounds really scary. Thank you for educating me.
Dawn Lopez says
I have heard of sepsis but I never really knew what it was. This was a very informative and helpful blog post.
The public doesn’t really have an good understanding on what sepsis can potentially do. Thanks so much for sharing a public health message that all of us with families can benefit from.
I honestly only know of sepsis because of my husband and being in Healthcare. I know it can be lethal, but was not aware of the symptoms. This is great information!
This is so scary! I had no idea that it was such a serious problem. It’s really helpful to know what to look for! Thanks for sharing this.
Chantal Kirkland says
This is really eye-opening. Thank you for sharing. I have never really been affected by sepsis in my life. But now it makes more sense as to why it’s such a scary word.
Erin Staples says
Thank you for sharing this great info and helping me educate myself on this!!!
My grandmother had very poor circulation in one of her legs due to having polio as a child. In her later years, she injured that leg, and an infection followed. She didn’t get it treated in time and ended up needing an amputation. Infections should definitely be taken seriously!
Geraline Batarra says
I love how people paying attention to sepsis. This is soething that we should watch. This is serious disease that may cause death.
Raki (Outside the Box Mom) says
This is such a scary thought. I will be sure to spread the news to all of my loved ones to see a doctor right away to handle infections.
Cindy Gordon says
It is pretty scary how common this is! I am so glad you shared this and spread some awareness about sepsis!
Karlyn Cruz says
This is really scary! I went to the hospital last week because I had all these symptoms. Turns out it was just an anxiety attack but I do still have shortness of breath. They took blood tests but luckily it wasn’t sepsis or anything of the sort. I’m so glad when people like you spread awareness like this. Sometimes those who go through life acting like nothing bad is going to happen are the ones who end up going through all the pain. It’s good to be aware, especially if you have potential to spread it to people you love. Thank you for this!
Cindy Ingalls says
Sadly, I know someone who died from Sepsis. He was far too young. It’s important to know the warning signs because this is a dangerous infection.