Are You a Sepsis Superhero?

September 13th, 2018 / James J. Chengary

Help raise awareness about this deadly response to infection

Are You a Sepsis Superhero?

You may be surprised to learn that September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Though it’s unfamiliar to many, sepsis takes a real toll: it’s the third leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting 26 million people around the world each year. However, there is tremendous opportunity to make a difference. With early detection, patients with sepsis have much better survival rates. Here’s what you need to know.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to infection goes overboard and becomes life-threatening. While many people are aware that sepsis can occur during a hospital stay, the CDC has found that sepsis begins outside the hospital for almost 80% of patients. The onset of sepsis is most commonly associated with infections of the lungs, urinary tract, skin, and gut. It occurs most often in infants younger than 1 year, adults 65 or older, and people with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses.

How does early detection make a difference?

Spotting the signs of sepsis early can save lives and prevent disabilities. Studies routinely show that getting the right antibiotics to patients quickly has a major impact: a patient’s risk of death from sepsis increases 7.6% for each hour treatment is delayed. You can help by being familiar with common symptoms and alerting healthcare professionals to possible cases.

What are the key symptoms?

Remember the mnemonic TIME:

T – Temperature is higher or lower than normal
I – Infection signs or symptoms
M – Mental decline, confusion, or sleepiness
E – Extreme illness, with severe pain or discomfort

What else can I do to help?

The best way to fight sepsis is to raise awareness so more people can spot the signs and symptoms while there’s still time to make a difference. Check out event suggestions for World Sepsis Day (September 13), or take the time to post about it on social media. If that’s not enough for you, we recommend taking part in the Sepsis Awareness Superhero Challenge. On September 29, participants will go the extra mile for sepsis awareness — a real mile, walking, biking, or swimming or whatever appeals to you. Register by September 20th through the website above, which will also help with fundraising.

However you choose to help raise awareness, we thank you for being involved and for making a difference to people around the world.

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