World Sepsis Day is held on September 13th of every year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against sepsis. Sepsis accounts for at least 8 million deaths worldwide annually. Yet, depending on country and education, sepsis is known only to 7 – 50 % of the people. Likewise, it is poorly known that sepsis can be prevented by vaccination and clean care and that early recognition and treatment reduces sepsis mortality by 50%. This lack of knowledge makes sepsis the number one preventable cause of death worldwide.
World Sepsis Day and Sepsis Awareness Month is a time when individuals, healthcare professionals, and organizations speak up about sepsis to raise awareness. This could be for your friend who spent several days in the ICU and survived sepsis even after doctors said she might not make it. It could be for a neighbor who lost his family member to sepsis. Maybe it’s by a nurse who sees and educates multiple patients who show signs of sepsis, or a hospital system that has implemented sepsis protocols to help diagnose and treat sepsis earlier. World Sepsis Day and Sepsis Awareness Month serves to raise awareness about sepsis, including the signs and symptoms, because even just knowing what it is can save someone’s life.
Know the Signs:
S – Shivering, fever or very cold
E – Extreme pain or general discomfort
P – Pale or discolored skin
S – Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused
I – “I feel like I might die”
S – Shortness of breath
Mortality from sepsis increases 8% for every hour treatment is delayed. As many as 80% of sepsis deaths could be prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Sepsis is the body’s toxic response to infection. And infection can occur anywhere in the body from a multitude of causes. Some of the more common causes include urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and the flu. Sepsis can also develop from unexpected things like an infection after a tattoo or piercing, or a dental procedure. Seemingly everyday things like cuts and mosquito bites can also cause sepsis if they become infected and aren’t treated properly.
So You Know What Sepsis Is And The Symptoms, Now What?
Prevent infection in the first place by using good hygiene – wash your hands, properly care for open wounds, get vaccinations, and seek medical attention if you suspect sepsis. You can also educate others. Sepsis Alliance has information and resources on its website, Sepsis.org, so you can arm yourself and others with knowledge about sepsis. Join me this month to raise sepsis awareness by knowing what sepsis is and the symptoms. Then tell someone else and ask them to tell another person. The more people we educate about sepsis, the more lives we can save.
Remember, every two minutes someone dies from sepsis – a treatable condition that can start from any kind of infection. So don’t hesitate if you suspect sepsis and get medical help as soon as you see the signs. You could save a life.