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One of the most serious issues facing worldwide medical care is sepsis, a complication of infection in which the body's immune response functions incorrectly and begins to treat its own tissue and organs as foreign. This can cause serious and even fatal damage to important bodily systems.
It's hard to determine exactly how many people are affected by sepsis each year, but since health care-associated infections are the most frequent adverse event to occur during care, the potential for sepsis is always present:
Although sepsis is most common in low- and middle-income countries, it can be prevalent anywhere:
Anyone can be affected by sepsis, but some populations are more vulnerable:
Any infection, whether bacterial, fungal, or viral, could lead to sepsis, but the most common causes are:
Sepsis is a medical emergency, and any signs of it should be treated as urgently as possible. Rapid response is vital to survival rates; as many as 80% of sepsis deaths could be prevented with immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing sepsis requires the following:
An easy way to remember the symptoms of Sepsis is the following:
S: shivering, fever, extremely cold
E: extreme pain
P: pale or discolored skin
S: sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty in rousing
I: "I feel like I might die," extreme patient discomfort
S: shortness of breath
Sepsis can progress to a condition called septic shock, which causes dangerously low blood pressure and changes to cellular metabolism. It's more likely to cause death than sepsis, and requires the following for diagnosis:
High standards for hygiene, hospital cleanliness, wound care, and medical care help prevent sepsis.
Wound Care: Whether in a hospital or at home, all cuts, burns, and other wounds should be meticulously cared for, as any breaks in skin can easily lead to infection. Some tips:
Cleanliness: Even if you're not a medical professional, proper hygiene habits are vital to preventing infections. Practice correct handwashing procedures and always wash hands when sick, close to someone who is ill, handling food, or after using the bathroom.
Medical professionals should always follow established rules and regulations for disinfecting their workplaces. Even those outside the medical profession can follow these tips to safeguard their homes from infection, especially if someone in your house is ill.
Antibiotics: Always take antibiotics as directed and the full course of them. Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem in health care facilities and can lead to incredible difficulty fighting off infections.