My Sepsis Story – The Silent Killer
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical health professional and this blog post is giving my personal experience with Sepsis. Scroll down to the bottom for links to medical websites, and always talk to your G.P. or call the non emergency help line on 111 if you are at all concerned. In any emegency situation, call 999 immediately. You’ll be forgiven for never having heard of Sepsis before. Before I went into labour with William, I hadn’t. The first time I heard of it was when I was in active labour having a chemical induction. I started hearing the words “Sepsis Pathway” being bandied about by my midwife and the doctors. I was already having a hard time taking everything in, with lots of new information being given to me. I was in terrible pain (the epidural failed!) and tired after a sleepless 3 day induction. Enough details there, you can always read about my traumatic birth story if you’re interested. After the birth my condition deteriorated and it was confirmed that I had Sepsis – but because I was already on IV antibiotics, it wasn’t as serious as it could have been but it still affected me quite heavily. According to recent statistics, Sepsis kills 44,000 people a year in the UK and costs the NHS £2.93 billion annually. 150,000 people a year are treated, and almost 1 in 3 dies. That is incredible and heart breaking – yet so many people have never heard of it, don’t know what to look for or what to do if the symptoms appear. When I read up about Sepsis after I left the hospital I was so gobsmacked that I had survived something so serious without even fully realizing how lucky I had been.
What is SepsisSepsis, aka “the silent killer” or “blood poisoning” is a rare reaction to an infection where the immune system becomes overactive and damages the body instead of healing it. It is not known exactly why this happens in some cases, but it can happen after any injury or minor infection. If untreated it can result in organs shutting down and death, but if treated quickly then a full recovery can be made. The high death rate is because it can be hard to spot and is often not noticed until things are very serious. This makes it even more important that everyone is aware exactly what to look out for and gets checked out if they see the symptoms.
There are higher risks for
- The young and the old.
- People with diabetes.
- Those with pre-existing illnesses (especially those already in hospital).
- People with weakened immune systems.
- People who have had surgery or with serious wounds / injuries.
- Women who have just given birth or recently been pregnant (includes miscarriages and abortions).
Signs to look out forAccording to the NHS website the signs to look out for are:
- a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
- chills and shivering
- a fast heartbeat
- fast breathing