This is Sepsis and How You Can Avoid It

This is Sepsis and How You Can Avoid It

If you have an infection that’s getting worse, ask your doctor if you’re on the road to sepsis. Time matters.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis. Of this total, nearly 270,000 die as a result of their condition.

What is it? Sepsis is not something you can catch from someone, but something that can develop in your body after an initial infection sets in. Say, you cut your leg. And then, the cut develops an infection. If it grows severe enough, your body may respond with a chain reaction.

This is sepsis. It’s dangerous and potentially life-threatening. It happens when your body responds to the signs of infection in a way that isn’t helpful.

Your body normally releases chemicals into your bloodstream when you get an infection, in order to fight it off, but when sepsis hits, this chemical balance is out of whack.

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The result is that your own body can trigger changes that damage your organs. If it progresses to septic shock, the situation is dire. The average mortality rate for septic shock is about 40 percent, experts say.

According to the Mayo Clinic, sepsis is most common in seniors, pregnant women, babies, people living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, and those with a weakened immune system.

As the CDC points out, when it comes to sepsis, time matters. If you or someone you know has a wound or infection that isn’t healing as it should, seek medical help and ask your doctor if they think the infection could be leading to sepsis.

Symptoms of sepsis include:

Confusion or disorientation
Shortness of breath
High heart rate
Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
Extreme pain or discomfort
Clammy or sweaty skin

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