How to recognise the symptoms of sepsis

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Sepsis, a life-threatening condition triggered by the body’s response to an infection, requires immediate recognition and treatment to prevent serious complications. Identifying the symptoms of sepsis is crucial for quick intervention and a good outcome.
Symptoms of Sepsis in Adults

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Slurred Speech or Confusion

Individuals experiencing sepsis may exhibit altered mental status such as slurred speech or confusion. These neurological symptoms can develop rapidly and signal a worsening condition. To learn more about sepsis and how to recognise the signs, consider clinical training courses such as those offered by

Extreme Shivering or Muscle Pain

Sepsis can cause severe shivering or muscle pain, often accompanied by fever.

Passing No Urine (in a Day)

Reduced urine output, or passing no urine in a day, can indicate kidney dysfunction.

Severe Breathlessness

Difficulty breathing or severe breathlessness may occur due to lung inflammation or fluid accumulation in the lungs, both of which can result from sepsis-induced organ dysfunction.

Feeling Like You’re Going to Die

Some people with sepsis describe an overwhelming sense of impending doom, often accompanied by extreme anxiety or agitation.

Skin Mottled or Discoloured

Skin mottling or discolouration, characterised by patchy areas of pale or bluish skin, may indicate poor circulation and impaired blood flow.

General symptoms to watch out for in children include rapid breathing, seizures and changes in skin colour, such as mottling, bluish discoloration or pallor, which may indicate poor perfusion and oxygenation. Additionally, a rash that fails to fade under pressure could suggest a severe complication of sepsis. Children with sepsis may also exhibit lethargy or be difficult to wake.

For infants under 5, signs of sepsis include feeding refusal, persistent vomiting and not urinating for 12 hours. Prompt recognition and medical attention are vital due to the potential for an infant’s rapid deterioration in sepsis.

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