Photo Credit: Just.Kamil_

This is a post prepared under a contract funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and written on behalf of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network for use in CDC’s Get Ahead of Sepsis educational effort. Opinions on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CDC.

Becoming a mother is a rattling experience. For nearly 10 months we wait for the one moment to give birth to a child. When they arrive, we count their fingers, toes—we nearly count every hair on their head. When our little ones enter this world, only then do most moms take that deep breath of relief. We believe that everything is just fine. But for most moms, that worry continues well past childbirth. There are so many things to worry about—especially when your little ones get sick and get infections. But arming yourself with knowledge can help prevent infections from becoming serious. I’m writing today to inform you about a serious concern that every mom should know about—a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening, and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly cause to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis happens when an infection you already have—in your skin, lungs, urinary tract or somewhere else—triggers a chain reaction throughout your body.

Here are 5 Facts Every Mom Should Know About Sepsis.

 

  • Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Children Younger Than One Are At Higher Risk.

 

Children younger than one are at higher risk of developing sepsis. With developing immune systems, they are more susceptible. Make sure you are taking infection prevention measures with your baby by ensuring everyone who interacts with your new infant properly washes their hands before touching him/her. And be sure to tell friends and family to stay away from you and your baby if they are sick. Proper vaccination for your whole family is also important.

Others who are at higher risk include:

  • Adults 65 or older
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease
  • People with weakened immune systems

Even if you or a loved one doesn’t fit into a high risk group, sepsis is still a very real risk. In fact, more than 1.5 million people each year in America develop sepsis, and at least 250,000 people die as a result.

According to the CDC, most frequently identified germs that cause infection that develop into sepsis are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus (staph)
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • some types of Streptococcus

 

  • Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis Can Include One or a Combination of Many.

 

Sepsis signs and symptoms can include one or a combination of any of the following:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate
  • Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin

 

  • If You Suspect Something Is Wrong, Probe Further.

 

Photo Credit: Just.Kamil_

One mom has shared her story numerous times and I’m sharing it here with her permission. Her infant son, Kamil, was sick and she took him to the hospital, only to be sent home with a pain reliever and a fever reducer.

Just.Kamil_: “Today marks the 2 year mark that Kamil became ill and I took him to the hospital and they sent us back with [a pain reliever and fever reducer]. I’ll give anything to go back to this day and demand they do blood work and refuse to leave. That is one of the reason I tell all parents— speak up for your child. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. Doctors and nurses are human too, they also make mistakes. If your child has a fever, demand blood work because it is a sign of infection. Infections don’t leave because you give them [a pain reliever and fever reducer], you need antibiotics. I love my son and I love him even more now.”

 

  • Sepsis Is Treatable If Recognized & Treated Quickly.

 

The good news is that sepsis can be treatable. According to CDC, rapid, effective sepsis treatment, which includes giving antibiotics, maintaining blood flow to organs, and treating the source of infection, can save lives. Many patients receive oxygen and intravenous (IV) fluids to maintain blood flow and oxygen to organs. Other types of treatment, such as assisting breathing with a machine or kidney dialysis, may be necessary. Sometimes surgery is required to remove tissue damaged by the infection.

 

  • There Are Four Important Ways To Get Ahead Of Sepsis.

 

 

  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps you can take to prevent infections. Some steps include taking good care of chronic conditions and getting recommended vaccines.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of sepsis
  • Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing, and keeping cuts clean and covered until healed.
  • ACT FAST. Get medical care IMMEDIATELY when an infection is not getting better or if it gets worse

 

Remember:

Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one suspect sepsis or has an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”

To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit www.cdc.gov/sepsis.

For more information about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.

With warm regards,

-Shanicia

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