Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to 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.
Each year, more than 270,000 people in the United States die from sepsis. Worldwide, that figure is eight million. Approximately 66 percent of Americans say they know the word sepsis, with only 12 percent of Americans being able to identify the most common sepsis symptoms.
Everyone is at risk for infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Individuals living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer and kidney disease are at higher risk of developing infection that can lead to sepsis. Sepsis can occur more commonly in people 65 years or older, people with weakened immune systems and children younger than one.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention. Sepsis is a medical emergency and time matters.
Get ahead of sepsis by practicing the following:
Handwashing is imperative in preventing sepsis. Proper handwashing should include the following steps:
Soap and water should be used anytime the activities following activities have been performed:
Information provided by Kathleen Malloy, RN, BSN, Stroke and Quality Coordinator at Hackensack Meridian Pascack Valley Medical Center.