Monday 13 September marked World Sepsis Day and I want to raise awareness of this condition this week. Sepsis is a rare but life-threatening reaction to an infection. The UK Sepsis Trust explains that sepsis (also known as blood poisoning or septicaemia) is the immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury. If not treated immediately, sepsis can result in organ failure and death. Yet with early diagnosis, it can be treated.
Every hour, 5 people die with sepsis in the UK; 40% of all sepsis survivors suffer permanent, life-changing aftereffects; 25,000 hospital admissions with sepsis each year in the UK occur in children*.
These are just some eye-opening facts about sepsis and remind us that sepsis is a medical emergency. Knowing the signs and symptoms and acting fast could save someone’s life. Sepsis can initially look like a respiratory virus or infection, or even gastroenteritis. There is no one sign, and symptoms can vary – knowing the symptoms and acting fast is crucial.
In adults, the signs and symptoms of sepsis include confusion or disorientation, high heart rate or low blood pressure, fever, shivering or feeling very cold, shortness of breath, clammy or sweaty skin, extreme pain and discomfort, and discoloured skin.
In children, symptoms can include rapid breathing, fits or convulsions, mottled, bluish or pale skin. They might have a rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass over it, be very lethargic or very cold to touch. Young children under five often don’t feed, can be repeatedly sick and might not pass urine for more than 12 hours.
If you are concerned about someone who has sepsis symptoms seek help immediately. Call 999 or go to A&E.
You cannot catch sepsis from another person, but many illnesses can cause it, including COVID-19. Knowing the signs, seeking urgent medical help and remaining vigilant could save a loved one’s life.
So too can remaining vigilant about COVID-19. We know all too well that the virus has not gone away, and as we face another winter with COVID-19 it is still just as important as ever to remain cautious and do everything we can to stop transmission and reduce the number of cases.
Here at the Trust, all COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. Everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings is reminded that they must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.
While it is no longer a legal requirement in England to wear a face covering, it is important that we continue to protect everyone in the best way possible. So, I urge you to continue practising as many preventative measures as you can to continue protecting yourselves and those around you:
– get vaccinated – it is the best protection from COVID-19
– test twice a week – many people who have COVID-19 do not feel ill. Information on vaccines and testing can be found on www.wirral.gov.uk
– wash your hands thoroughly and more often for at least 20 seconds
– meet outside or let fresh air in – open windows and doors for visitors
– if you think you have symptoms, stay at home and take a PCR test
– wear a face covering in all healthcare settings, crowded places and on public transport
– check in to venues when you go out
As we head into winter and the challenges that brings, from flu to norovirus and COVID-19, the more we can all do to stay well, the better. Preventing infection is everyone’s responsibility and we must all do our very best to remain vigilant.
The focus for the past year and a half has undoubtedly been COVID-19, but other viruses and infections have not gone away, and our continued efforts to stop the spread of all infection will create a safer and healthier Wirral for us all.
*Source: UK Sepsis Trust