Sepsis is a common and deadly disease, yet one of the least well known. It occurs when the body has a whole-body inflammatory response to an infection. The way a person’s organs react to that inflammation can quickly lead to organ failure or death, especially if it is not recognized early and treated promptly.
Any infection—even a minor one—can cause sepsis.
Sepsis is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Awareness is our greatest tool to fight it. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 80 percent of patients developed sepsis out of the hospital. Sepsis is associated with any type of infection, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin infections (such as cellulitis), and gastrointestinal infections (such as appendicitis and pancreatitis).
Sepsis is usually diagnosed from a combination of symptoms. Be on the lookout for common signs of infection like diarrhea, vomiting and sore throat, as well as these sepsis symptoms:
- Warm skin
- Confusion or delirium
- Rapid heartbeat
- Skin rash
- Decreased urination
Anyone with possible symptoms of sepsis should get immediate medical attention. Treat it as a medical emergency. If you are continuing to get worse or are not healing after an infection, ask your doctor about sepsis.