Everything you need to know about Septicaemia



Everything you need to know about Septicaemia (Sepsis)




Following the tragic case of one-year-old William Mead, who died of Sepsis in 2014, public concern regarding the condition has been rapidly increasing. Sepsis happens when the immune system 'goes into overdrive' and can lead to an unintended attack on the body. This can result in organ failure and even death. Campaigners have called on the government to both increase research into the condition, and to further raise public awareness. The following article answers six big Sepsis questions, hopefully allowing you to better understand the condition.



1) What is Sepsis?

Sepsis, also referred to as blood positioning or septicaemia is initially triggered by an infection or injury. When Sepsis occurs, the body's immune system goes into overdrives as it tries to fight an infection. This 'overdrive' can reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, kidneys and the heart.


2) How big of a problem is it?

An NHS report suggested in 2014 that more than 123,000 people suffer from Sepsis, and around 37,000 people will die from it in England each year. That means more people will die from Sepsis than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined in the UK.


3) Why is it so difficult to detect?

Experts say that Sepsis can be so hard to detect because it can appear in a number of ways. Sometimes the sign will be low blood pressure and high temperature, but others may breathe rapidly and have a fast pulse. All these symptoms can accidentally be mistaken for other infections, adding to the problem. In other cases there can be very few clear symptoms at all.

Sepsis graphic

4) Are there any warning signs?

The UK Sepsis Trust put together six common signs of Sepsis, however if you have any concerns you should visit a GP immediately. The six most common signs are; slurred speech or confusion, extreme shivering or muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness, feeling 'close to death' and discoloured skin.


5) How can Sepsis care be improved?

The good news is, that if spotted early, the treatment can be simple and life-saving. Patients are usually given antibiotics and fluids through a drip. A recent report recommends that more doctors use early warning systems and screening checklists to prompt them to check for signs of Sepsis.


6) What is the NHS doing right now?

NHS England published a major Sepsis action plan at the end of 2015. The key message within the report was that NHS staff need better training to detect Sepsis. Technology is also being used, new algorithms are being created to help pick up on Sepsis, based on previous health issues.


Content provided by the BBC

Find out more at the charity Sepsis Trust

Sepsis information page from the NHS