According to the CDC, more than 1.5 million people in the United States get sepsis every year. More than 250, 000 Americans die of sepsis each year. Sepsis is the body’s most extreme reaction to an infection. It is life-threatening, and should be considered a medical emergency. if it not treated in a timely manner and with the appropriate therapies it will lead to organ failure, tissue damage and possibly death.
Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Some people are at higher risk of infection and sepsis, including:
- Adults 65 or older
- Immunosuppressed populations:
- People who have chronic conditions
- Children under one year
Taking the time to learn the symptoms of sepsis can save a life.
There is no single sign or symptom of sepsis. Early signs of sepsis involve a combination of symptoms that can include infection (suspected or confirmed) and* :
- Confusion or disorientation (the patient that “just isn’t right”)
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Fever with or without uncontrollable chilling, “can’t get warm”
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy and sweating skin.
- Patient will often voice that “something is wrong:”
*People with sepsis typically have more than one of these symptoms.
Any individual with this combination of symptoms requires an immediate assessment at an emergency department for evaluation and appropriate treatment. The required treatment cannot be provided in an outpatient ambulatory clinic.
For more resources for staff and patient education please visit the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov.sepsis