Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body responding to germs, triggered by an infection or injury, also called blood poisoning or septicaemia.
In sepsis, the body's immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection. This can reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys. Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. We all need to be aware of the possibility of sepsis and how to get help.
How to know if it might be sepsis
In the early stages, it's often difficult to distinguish sepsis from 'flu.
If you have, or have recently had, a fever, and develop any of the following symptoms, don't delay: call 999 and say this is sepsis:
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain
- Passing no urine (in 18 hours or a day)
- Severe breathlessness
- 'I know something's badly wrong with me'
- Skin that's mottled, bluish or very pale' If you suspect sepsis, try to ensure that the patient receives urgent medical attention.
Don’t be afraid to say “I think this might be sepsis”.
Remember, if it does turn out to be sepsis, getting this patient treated even one hour earlier might make the difference between life and death.
For more information visit
The UK Sepsis Trust: http://sepsistrust.org/