Sepsis – Early Symptoms and What Happens Next

Sepsis is something I have had first hand experience of with it being a contributing factor to my father’s death. It is shocking to know just how little awareness there has been around the topic – until recently with the storyline on Coronation Street. Today I am sharing a collaborative post to let you know all about the early symptoms and what happens next so you know what to look out for.

My Dad went into hospital with a simple foot infection  – and he never came back out again. Sometimes that is a little hard to get my head around – he should have come back home. We didn’t know too much about sepsis although we were a little aware due to a family friend also having suffered. It is SO important to know the signs.

Sepsis is a condition that unfortunately isn’t talked about publicly enough. Sepsis causes 44,000 deaths in the UK alone per year; more than both cervical cancer and prostate cancer combined.

This post takes a look at 6 steps that you could take to ensure that you help spot sepsis, and, the 6 steps that should be taken by a clinician once sepsis has been diagnosed.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening response to your body’s reaction to an infection. It develops when your body’s immune system goes into over drive, and the chemicals that are released into the bloodstream from the immune system cause inflammation throughout the body, rather than fighting the infection.

There are two things to focus on when it comes to saving the lives of patients of sepsis; rapid action and what to do next.  

Early Symptoms

There are standard flow charts available to help doctors identify sepsis early, although, this can sometimes be missed. Here are the early symptoms to watch out for:

Slurred speech

Extreme shivering

Passing no urine during the day

Severe breathlessness

“I feel like I might die” – how a patient may exclaim that they are feeling

Skin being mottled or discoloured

Next Steps

Sepsis doesn’t take long to develop and, unfortunately, the time frame to causing serious harm is short. After the patient has been suspected of having sepsis, it is extremely important to get them reviewed by an experienced clinician straight away.

There are six types of tests and treatment once sepsis has been confirmed, these are also known as the Sepsis Six. These should be initiated within an hour of being diagnosed, and involve:

  • Getting given antibiotics
  • Giving fluids intravenously
  • Getting oxygen
  • Taking blood cultures – identifies the type of bacteria that is causing the sepsis and the level of the infection
  • Taking a sample of blood – will asses the severity of the infection
  • Monitoring your urine output – assesses the severity of sepsis and the function of the kidney

Royal College of Nursing guidance states that observations should be recorded every half an hour to monitor improvement and/or lack of.

However, those that comply with the Sepsis Six within early recognition has been proven to reduce the risk of death by 46%, whereas earlier recognition and treatment could save a huge 14,000 people a year.

Please, if you see the signs, seek medical attention right away.


4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’ve heard some terrible things about sepsis and it’s definitely something that not many people are aware of. It’s shocking that it causes so many deaths. Sorry to hear about your dad’s death, that’s really really bad, sorry for your loss.

  2. Thanks so much for publishing this, it is really important that there is more awareness of sepsis and its symptoms. It is so very dangerous. I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. Mich x

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