Kayla Shepherd31 Mar 2019


Sepsis is best described as a serious complication as a result of an infection and without quick diagnosis and treatment, sepsis can in turn lead to multiple organ failure and even death.

The symptoms of sepsis are also commonly associated with the first signs and symptoms of meningitis, including fever, vomiting, generally feeling unwell and a headache. Signs of sepsis can also include the chills and shivering and a fast heartbeat and breathing.

There are others signs and symptoms to look out for in children under five and these can include; a bulging ‘soft spot’ on a baby’s head, sunken eyes, floppiness, stiff neck, not drinking for more than 8 hours when awake, green, bloody or black vomit, grunting noises or pauses in breathing.

If you notice anyone with any of these symptoms you should seek medical advice immediately.

Sepsis is often mis-diagnosed as a generic infection or something less sinister and that seems to be the case for many stories reported in the media of late. Most recently, This Morning featured a story of a mother of twins who had repeatedly taken her 18 month old child to the doctors/hospitals due to concerns as she displayed many of the above symptoms. She was constantly told that her daughter was suffering from a urine infection and she would get better over time, still the mother was unsure until one morning her husband got up early for work and turned on the light and the child was tinged blue. Only upon another emergency trip to hospital was sepsis finally diagnosed and the child treated. Luckily, she made a full recovery.

This seems to be the case for many stories of sepsis reported in the media, so many patients are mis-diagnosed with an infection and sent home until they later returned critically ill.

But the over-arching message that each one of these stories stresses the most is to always ask your health professional ‘Is it sepsis?’ ‘Could it be sepsis?’ to encourage them to explore other avenues and potentially diagnose it within the critical period. Not all patients will display all of the symptoms so even if your loved one or child is only displaying a few, ask the question and demand more thorough tests, even if just to rule out sepsis.

Sepsis seems to be on the rise in the UK, but is this because we are now all so much more aware of it and are fighting for a correct diagnosis. Sepsis is incredibly serious and should be treated as so. Each year in the UK, a staggering 25,000 children are affected by sepsis with 5 people every hour being killed by sepsis and so we need to be aware of all of the facts, signs and symptoms so we can confidently fight for a proper diagnosis.

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