5 signs for sepsis parents need to know

signs for sepsis

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Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection which occurs when your immune system overreacts to the ailment and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs. But what are the signs for sepsis that we need to know about?

It is one of those infections that we hear about, but many of us wouldn’t know how to spot it. Although in the early stages, sepsis, flu and chest infections can have similar symptoms, Colin Graham, chief operating officer at Sepsis Research FEAT, said there are five key symptoms to watch out for.


Signs for sepsis


5 signs for sepsis

1. High/low temperature

Sepsis can cause a patient to develop a high fever as part of the body’s immune response, although in some cases they’ll develop a low body temperature (hypothermia) instead. “Hypothermia during sepsis is considered very dangerous,” stressed Graham. “There’s more risk of fatality than when a patient develops a fever.”

2. Uncontrolled shivering

Sepsis can cause a drop in body temperature and severe shivering, which is one response to fighting infection, and is the body’s way of trying to increase its temperature.

3. Confusion

Another of the signs for sepsis is confusion, The cause for this is acute inflammation and swelling, making it difficult to breathe, and leading to a drop in oxygen levels. “Low levels of oxygen in the blood can cause mental confusion and delirium,” said Graham.

4. Passing little urine

As sepsis progresses, blood pressure may decrease. This means not enough blood and oxygen can reach the body’s organs, says Graham. One result of this is potential organ failure, he said, and when kidneys start to fail, it can lead to a drop in urine output.


5. Blotchy or cold arms and legs

During sepsis, the clotting mechanism works overtime. Nutrients can’t get to the tissues in the fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, and legs and the body’s tissues begin to die, said Graham. At first, the skin may look mottled or blotchy and may appear blueish. In severe cases of sepsis, the areas of dead skin can turn black, and limbs may need to be amputated.

What to know about the signs of sepsis

Someone with sepsis might not show all these symptoms at once and may have other signs for sepsis like difficulty breathing and a rapid heartbeat. This may occur because the infection can make arteries dilate or widen, causing a drop in blood pressure, which means the heart has to work harder to push the blood through at a normal pressure.

On their own, these symptoms can be an indication of other health problems, said Graham, but a combination of two or more of them, becoming progressively worse, means you need to seek urgent medical attention, so call 999 or go to A&E. He stresses that for every hour treatment is delayed, the chance of survival reduces by over 7%.


Did you know about the signs for sepsis? Let us know in the Comments

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