Health & Fitness Why it's so important to know the symptoms of sepsis

15:16  12 september  2017
15:16  12 september  2017 Source:   Netdoctor

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The illness, which can lead to multiple organ failure and death, is most common in babies and elderly people – yet figures obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme show that 24 NHS acute hospital trusts failed to administer intravenous antibiotics within an hour to many patients in need of urgent treatment, while 14 hospitals failed to spot symptoms all together in 50% of cases.

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The main symptoms of early sepsis are chills, a fever, a rapid heartbeat, quick breathing, red streaks around an injury, and a Not all infections are superficial however, which is why the other signs of early sepsis are also important to recognize.

Generally speaking, it is advised that antibiotic treatment should be given within 60 minutes of diagnosis in order to reduce the risk of serious complications or death. Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the Sepsis Trust, said: "The scale of this problem is enormous, sepsis affects a quarter of a million people across the United Kingdom every year and it causes more deaths than breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer put together."

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "I wouldn't pretend that we get this right everywhere. We're on a journey, we definitely need to do a lot better but I think we have made significant progress. There are preventable deaths happening but we're bringing them down."

New guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) last year said doctors should treat signs of possible sepsis as urgently as chest pains that could potentially be a heart attack.

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  Why it's so important to know the symptoms of sepsis © Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK)

Sepsis: The symptoms

Sepsis always arises from another medical condition, such as an infection in the lungs, urinary tract or other part of the body. Most of the time, it's caused by various types of bacteria.

The most common symptoms of sepsis are:

  • Fever and 'chills'
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • A rash
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation

In children under the age of five, symptoms to look out for are:

  • A mottled, bluish or pale look
  • Lethargy, difficult to wake
  • Abnormally cold to touch
  • Very fast breathing
  • A rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Fits or convulsions

In babies:

  • 'Grunting' noises with every breath
  • Not had a wet nappy for 12 hours
  • No interest in feeding or drinking
  • Bile-stained, bloody or black vomit
  • Sunken eyes
  • Soft spot on baby's head is bulging

Go straight to A&E of call 999 if you, a loved one or your child displays any of the above symptoms. If they are already in hospital, alert a nurse or doctor immediately.

Why it's so important to know the symptoms of sepsis .
Even doctors are missing the signsThe illness, which can lead to multiple organ failure and death, is most common in babies and elderly people – yet figures obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme show that 24 NHS acute hospital trusts failed to administer intravenous antibiotics within an hour to many patients in need of urgent treatment, while 14 hospitals failed to spot symptoms all together in 50% of cases.

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