Let’s get Red-Day to rumble!

Friday 19th July is Wear Red Day for Sepsis

Whether it’s a pair of red socks or a red bow tie, let's paint the town red by wearing red for the day! Duradiamond Healthcare will be supporting and raising money for the Sepsis Trust this Friday by going red.

A little about a big issue...

The history of sepsis stretches back to ancient Greece - the word sepsis comes from the Greek word "sepo", meaning (rather nastily), "I rot" and has its first use in a medical context in Homer’s poetry - and it remains a serious condition that is difficult to treat today. Every year, 27-30 million people across the world develop sepsis and of those, 7-9 million people die from it – that’s one death every 3.5 seconds.

In the UK, there are some 250,000 cases of sepsis a year and at least 46,000 of those die as a result. Survivors may face life-long consequences - around 20% of sepsis survivors live with cognitive and/or physical impairments.

Sepsis is a severe reaction to an infection. It can involve many different parts of the body. The germs causing the infection can be bacteria, viruses or fungi. Sepsis is a medical emergency, but early treatment in hospital can save your life. If you suspect sepsis - obtain medical help immediately.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis (Septicaemia) is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and, ultimately, loss of life. In other words, it’s your body’s immune system overresponding to an infection.

Your immune system usually works to fight any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi), or to prevent infection.

If an infection does occur, your immune system will try to fight it, although you may need help with medication such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals. However, for reasons not yet fully understood, sometimes the immune system has an overwhelming response and starts to attack our organs and other tissues.

What causes sepsis?

As mentioned, sepsis is a condition caused by your body’s immune system responding abnormally to an infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. The infection can start anywhere in your body; it may be only in one part, or it may be widespread. Your immune system usually works to fight any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi), or to prevent infection. However, sometimes the immune system goes into overdrive and starts to attack our organs and other tissues.

It can happen as a response to any injury or infection, anywhere in the body. It can result from:

  • A chest infection causing pneumonia
  • A urine infection in the bladder
  • A problem in the abdomen, such as a burst ulcer or a hole in the bowel
  • An infected cut or bite
  • A wound from trauma or surgery
  • A leg ulcer or cellulitis.

Sepsis is more likely to develop in people:

  • Who have a weakened immune system either because of an existing medical condition or the effects of treatment
  • Who are very young or very old
  • Who are in hospital
  • Who require invasive medical devices such as urinary catheters or breathing tubes, which can allow a route into the body for infection.

Sepsis can be caused by a huge variety of different germs, like streptococcus, e-coli, MRSA or C diff. Most cases are caused by common bacteria, which normally don’t make us ill. Early symptoms of sepsis (in adults) may include:

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • A feeling of impending doom or it feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured.

Many of the symptoms of sepsis are also associated with meningitis. The first symptoms of meningitis are often fever, vomiting, splitting headache and feeling unwell.

In some cases, symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock (when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) develop soon after. Symptoms for children/babies may be very different.

When to get medical help

Seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111 if you've recently had an infection or injury and you have possible early signs of sepsis. If sepsis is suspected, you'll usually be referred to hospital for further diagnosis and treatment. Severe sepsis and septic shock are medical emergencies. If you think you or someone in your care has one of these conditions, go straight to A&E or call 999.

What is the outlook for sepsis?

Some people make a full recovery fairly quickly. The amount of time it takes to fully recover from sepsis varies. Some people experience long-term physical and/or psychological problems during their recovery period, such as:

  • Feeling lethargic or excessively tired
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swollen limbs or joint pain
  • Chest pain or breathlessness.

These long-term problems are known as post-sepsis syndrome. Not everyone experiences these problems.

For more support

Read the leaflet