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.
My son has had pneumonia twice! As a caregiver to someone with a severe infection, I was never informed that anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. That is pretty scary! Luckily, my son recovered without any issues, but it is important to spread the word about sepsis. Early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis, as well as infection prevention, can save lives.
Get Ahead of Sepsis
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched a new initiative, Get Ahead of Sepsis, to help educate Americans about the importance of early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis and preventing the infections that can lead to sepsis. By preventing infections, knowing the signs and symptoms of sepsis, practicing good hygiene, and acting fast, patients and families can get ahead of sepsis.
What is Sepsis?
So, what exactly is sepsis? It’s a life-threatening condition. Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis happens when an infection you already have—in your skin, lungs, urinary tract or somewhere else—triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Delayed recognition and treatment increases patients’ risk of death. That is why it is so important to prevent infections that can lead to sepsis.
Sepsis Warning Signs and Symptoms
Sepsis signs and symptoms can include one or a combination of the following:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
How to Prevent Infections That Can Lead To Sepsis
To get ahead of sepsis:
- Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps you can take to prevent infections. Some steps include taking good care of chronic conditions and getting recommended vaccines.
- Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing, and keeping cuts clean and covered until healed.
- Know the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
- ACT FAST. Get medical care IMMEDIATELY if you suspect sepsis or have an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse.
I am so glad that my son recovered from his pneumonia and that we now know about the warning signs and symptoms of sepsis.
Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or a loved one suspects sepsis or has an infection that is not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, “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.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.