Get ahead of Sepsis: Know the risks, spots the signs, act fast
Published 12:06 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023
CHRISTUS Health is recognizing World Sepsis Day (Sept. 13) by bringing attention to what sepsis is, the early recognition, intervention and key indicators.
Sepsis is the extreme response the body has to an infection. Nearly 1.7 million adults in the U.S. will develop sepsis with 350,000 dying during hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Early detection of sepsis saves lives,” said Ashliegh Burns, BSN, RN Program Director Clinical Variations for CHRISTUS Health.
“It’s imperative to recognize sepsis and how it may present itself in patients in their vital signs, changes in mental status or how they exhibit symptoms of an infectious process, such as cough or shortness of breath.”
She said symptoms of sepsis can be remembered using the acronym TIME: a person’s temperature may be higher or lower than normal, there may be signs and symptoms of an infection, the patient may experience a mental decline by seeming confused or sleepy and they may feel extremely ill.
Burns said it is important to watch for a combination of these warning signs, and if they are spotted, it is crucial for the patient to see a doctor immediately, or to call 911.
“If left untreated, sepsis can lead to blood clots, reduced blood flow to organs such as the brain, heart, kidney, and death,” Burns said.
“In fact, a person’s risk of death from sepsis increases by as much as 8 percent for every hour treatment is delayed.”
CHRISTUS Health emergency departments have a sepsis screening protocol in place to help identify patients at increased risk for sepsis during the triage process.
Experts encourage patients to recognize World Sepsis Day and to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms.
For more information on sepsis and to find a CHRISTUS Health emergency department near you, visit christushealth.org.