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Sepsis

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a potentially life threatening complication of an infection that can affect anyone.

Not every infection progresses to Sepsis but don’t be afraid to ask...‘Could this be Sepsis?’

If you, or someone you look after has symptoms of Sepsis as listed below, call for Medical Help or go to your local Emergency department.

It can affect anyone but is more common in the very young, the elderly or those with a weakened immune system.

Early recognition and treatment is critical- trust your instincts

Symptoms

  • Shivering. Fever or very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Pale. Discoloured, mottled skin
  • Sleep, difficult to rouse, confused
  • I feel like I’m going to die
  • Shortness of breath

Sepsis in children

Sepsis occurs in children when they get an infection and their immune system responds abnormally. The infection can damage their organs which can be life-threatening.

Is it common?

Anybody at any age can get sepsis but it is more likely to occur in older people or very young children because their immune systems are weaker.

How does a child get Sepsis?

Most infections resolve with treatment but any infection has the potential to become to sepsis. Children with existing medical conditions are more at risk. The most common infections in children are chest, urinary tract, tummy or if they have recently had surgery.

How can I help prevent my child getting infections?

  • Talk to your doctor to make sure your child has had all the recommended vaccinations.
  • Keep any cuts or scratched clean and covered
  • Good Hygiene reduces the risk of infection

If your child:

  • Feels  abnormally cold to the touch
  • 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

Any child under 5 who:

  • Is not feeding
  • Is vomiting repeatedly
  • Has not had a wet nappy in last 12 hrs

Don’t be afraid to ask… 'Could this be Sepsis?'

Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division