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  • Writer's pictureProf Rotimi Jaiyesimi



Sepsis kills far more people than AIDS yet not much is said about it. It kills more people than stroke yet not much is known about it. Saturday 13 September 2014 was world sepsis day, set apart to increase the awareness of this global problem.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is an extremely serious condition which is caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. The infection prompts the body to release chemicals but the chemicals themselves cause widespread inflammation which can fatally damage the organs.

Sepsis can also cause the blood to clot which then reduces blood flow to limbs and internal organs. In severe cases, one or more organs fail. In the worst cases, infection leads to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure, called septic shock. This can quickly lead to the failure of several organs including the lungs, liver and kidney, causing death

How will I know?

Common symptoms include

• High temperature • High pulse rate • Chills • Low blood pressure • Mottling of skin • Confusion • Lightheaded

Who can get it? • Anyone. Old or young. A minor cut, scrape or a bug bite can set off the deadly cascade

Why is it so dangerous? • Every hour raises the risk of death by eight percent if the sepsis is untreated • Vital to get treated as soon as possible • At least 50 percent of septic shock patients do not survive

How is it treated? 1. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, these are medicines that kill many types of bacteria.

2. Oxygen and intravenous fluids

Information from Rory Staunton Foundation

So simple to treat but early recognition by individuals, friends and families , doctors and nurses is of utmost importance - as is prompt treatment.

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