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04 Oct 2022

Know the signs: staff at Kildare hospital raise awareness of sepsis on World Sepsis Day 2022

Know the signs: staff at Kildare hospital raise awareness of sepsis on World Sepsis Day 2022

(Left to right): Megan Byrne, Elaine Harrow, Mags Tuohy, Jane Ball, Louise Keattey, Laura Naughton, Ivy Wang and Amy Byrne. Pic Supplied.

Staff at a hospital located in Kildare are raised awareness of sepsis on World Sepsis Day 2022 yesterday, while September also marks Sepsis Awareness Month.

Naas General Hospital (NGH) has said that one in five people who develop sepsis will die, but with early recognition and good treatment, this risk can be reduced.

Director of Nursing at NGH Anne Murphy said: "Although sepsis can become very serious it usually begins as a simple infection; this can start anywhere in or on the body.

"An abnormal immune response to this infection can then, in certain circumstances, overwhelm the patient and impair or destroy the function of any of the organs in the body," she added.

Mags Tuohy, the Early Warning System Co-Ordinator with responsibility for Sepsis Awareness in NGH, added: "Sepsis can affect anyone, so it’s important we can all recognise the signs, and ask the question, 'Could it be sepsis?'

"It is particularly important for higher-risk groups and caregivers of people in these groups: these are people with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases, people with no spleen, the very young, or the elderly."

SYMPTOMS

Recent figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE) reported that more than 12,000 people were treated for sepsis in hospitals last year.

While the findings showed that approximately 1 in 5 people dying due to developing sepsis, NGH said in a statement that the true figure is likely to be much higher than this.

NGH added that, for context, sepsis kills more people yearly than heart attacks, stroke, or cancer, and that sepsis has an annual death toll of over 11 million people worldwide.

Naas General Hospital. File Photograph

The most commonly reported symptoms, under the acronym SEPSIS, include: 

  • Slurred speech, mild agitation, confusion, or just ‘Not feeling right’ 
  • Extreme aches and pains in the joints, a temperature of 38֠ or higher 
  • P Have not passed urine in the last 12 hours or no urge to pass urine 
  • Short of breath – unable to finish a sentence without a pause or the lips are tinged with blue. A fast racing heart or often dizzy when standing up. 
  • "I feel like I’m going to die"
  • Skin appears mottled (marked), blueish in colour, or a new red rash that is still visible when pressed on by your finger or glass (glass test). 

SEPSIS IN CHILDREN:

NGH said that signs and symptoms to look out for in children include: 

●      Abnormally cold to the touch 

●      Looks mottled, bluish, or pale 

●      Breathing very fast 

●      Is unusually sleepy and difficult to wake 

●      Has a rash that doesn’t fade when you press it 

●      Having fits or convulsions 

Also, in children under five, watch in particular if: 

●      Not feeding 

●      Vomiting repeatedly 

●      Has not had a wet nappy in the last 12 hours 

Commenting on this point, Ms Tuohy said: "Prevention is the best way to reduce your chances of developing sepsis.

"Healthy lifestyle choices can help with this, like taking moderate exercise, good hand hygiene, using clean water, breastfeeding when possible, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, and being vaccinated for preventable infections."

For further information, visit www.hse.ie/sepsis and follow #SepsisAwarenessMonth #RecogniseSepsis on social media.

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