14th September 2021
World Sepsis Day is this week (Monday September 13th) and the HSE is encouraging everyone to be aware of sepsis and to familiarise themselves with the signs and symptoms, and most importantly to ask the question: “Could it be sepsis?” Sepsis can develop from any infection and can affect anyone but is more common in young people, the elderly, people with pre-existing medical conditions or those with a weakened immune system. It can be difficult to diagnose as it can be easily confused with other conditions in the early stages of infection.
Speaking on World Sepsis Awareness Day, Yvonne Young, HSE National Sepsis Team and Group Assistant Director of Nursing, UL Hospital Group said: “The most effective way to reduce death from sepsis is by prevention; good sanitation, personal hygiene, healthy eating, exercising moderately, breastfeeding, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics and vaccination against vaccine-preventable infections.
“The next most effective way is through early recognition and treatment. However, this is not always straightforward. Sepsis evolves over time and the pace of development depends on each individual patient’s health status, their genetic response to infection and the characteristics of the infection.”
Nora Cunningham lost her baby son Eoghan to sepsis shortly before his first birthday.
Nora's message is: “Look after your family, use good hand hygiene, stay as healthy as you can and make sure vaccinations are up to date. Know the signs and symptoms of sepsis, particularly if your loved one has an infection, and as a parent if you feel your child isn’t right, they probably are not alright, seek urgent help, don’t wait and it might save their life.”
Nora shares Eoghan's story in this video.
The most commonly reported symptoms of sepsis include; Slurred speech, confusion, excessive drowsiness Excessive sleepiness or drowsiness, confusion Pain or discomfort in the muscles or joints, passing very little or no urine Severe breathlessness, a racing heart, shivering, fever, feeling very cold “I feel like I’m going to die” Skin changes pale, cold, discoloured skin or a rash that won’t fade when pressed on In children the signs to look out for include; Abnormally cold to touch Skin looks mottled, bluish or pale Breathing very fast Is unusually sleepy and difficult to wake Has a rash that does not fade when you press it Having fits or convulsions Also in children under five; Not feeding Vomiting repeatedly Has not had a wet nappy in the last 12 hours