Recently, many people have been discussing Sepsis, following the enquiry into the extremely sad death of William Mead. The enquiry highlighted that many of the tell-tale signs were missed by GPs and the 111 Service. Over 37,000 people in the UK die from Sepsis every year, and many more people are affected; its effects are devastating.
Sepsis is extremely difficult to diagnose, however there will be clear signs that the casualty is becoming seriously unwell. This article aims to flag key warning signs that someone you love could have Sepsis.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. Severe Sepsis leads to shock, the body’s organs fail, and the casualty may die. It is vitally important to recognise symptoms early and treat promptly.
One of the most common ways of developing Sepsis is following an operation or injury where the wound becomes infected, or as a secondary infection following an illness such as a chest infection or septic throat.
Always regularly check wound sites following injuries or surgical procedures. If the wound becomes hot, itchy, swollen or red – you should seek medical advice promptly.
Possible signs and symptoms of Sepsis
Unfortunately, Sepsis can be a difficult condition to recognise and often takes a while to diagnose. There is a major campaign to raise awareness of possible early signs as, the sooner it is identified and treatment started, the better the outcome for the patient.
There are six key signs and symptoms that we are encouraged to look out for, and they are listed in the chart below:
The Sepsis Trust has issued the guidance below to help parents and child carers quickly recognise the signs and symptoms in children:

Sepsis can be hard to recognise at first, as early symptoms are similar to flu and other common illnesses; they are also similar to Meningitis.
Look out for:
  • Pale, mottled skin
  • Muscle pain and shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Breathlessness
  • Failure to pass any urine
  • A sense of ‘impending doom’ or a feeling that they might die
When to go to hospital
  • If someone is getting worse and you are worried;
  • If they are seriously unwell and have some of the above symptoms.
If you are sent home from the hospital or GP Surgery and the casualty gets worse, return again. Trust your instincts and tell them you are worried!
It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit, or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.
First Aid Instructor



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