Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection and a life-threatening medical emergency.
With at least 1.7 million adults in the U.S. developing sepsis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to inform citizens on the risks, signs, symptoms and how to respond to sepsis.
When germs get into a person’s body, they can cause an infection. If that infection isn’t stopped, it can cause sepsis.
Anyone can get an infection and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Certain people are at higher risk including adults 65 or older, children younger than one, people with weakened immune systems and people with chronic medical conditions.
Sepsis happens when an infection you already have, in your skin, lungs, urinary tract, or somewhere else, triggers a chain reaction throughout your body.
A patient with sepsis might have symptoms such as a high heart rate, fever, shivering, confusion, shortness of breath, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin.
If you are feeling worse or not getting better in the days after surgery, ask your healthcare professional, “Could this be sepsis?”
Similarly, if you have an infection that is not getting better or is getting worse, ask your healthcare professional, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”
Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.