Sepsis: Waiting on Treatment can get You Killed!

You cut your foot several days ago and its starting to hurt. You are shivering and have a fever, You are short of breath and have a high heart rate. You take a Tylenol and put some antibiotic cream on the wound. You die five days later of Sepsis.

Every year, severe sepsis strikes more than a million Americans2. It’s been estimated that between 28 and 50 percent of these people die—far more than the number of U.S. deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. Sepsis was the 10th leading cause of death among Black Americans in 2010 according to the CDC.

Sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection. It can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis is difficult to diagnose. It happens quickly and can be confused with other conditions early on. Sepsis is a medical emergency. Time matters. When sepsis is quickly recognized and treated, lives are saved.  You need to go to see the healthcare provider because they are the critical link to preventing, recognizing, and treating sepsis.

What are the Symptoms of Sepsis?

There is no single sign or symptom of sepsis. It is, rather, a combination of symptoms. Since sepsis is the result of an infection, symptoms can include infection signs (diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, etc. )

  1. Shivering, fever, or very cold
  2. High heart rate
  3. Extreme pain or discomfort
  4. Clammy, or sweaty skin
  5. Confusion or disorientation
    Sepsis: Waiting on Treatment can get You Killed!

    Sepsis was the 10th leading cause of death among Black Americans in 2010.

  6. Short of breath.

Healthcare providers can:

  • Prevent infections. Follow infection control requirements (e.g., hand hygiene) and ensure patients receive recommended vaccines (e.g., flu and pneumococcal).
  • Educate patients and their families. Stress the need to prevent infections, manage chronic conditions, and seek care if signs of severe infection or sepsis are present.
  • Think sepsis. Know sepsis signs and symptoms to identify and treat patients early.
  • Act fast. If sepsis is suspected, order tests to determine if an infection is present, where it is, and what caused it. Start antibiotics and other medical care immediately. Document antibiotic dose, duration, and purpose.
  • Reassess patient management. Check patient progress frequently. Reassess antibiotic therapy 24-48 hours or sooner to change therapy as needed. Be sure the antibiotic type, dose, and duration are correct.

Many Black Americans have chronic medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease that increase your risk for Sepsis.

Certain people with an infection are more likely to get Sepsis.

  • CDC evaluation found more than 90% of adults and 70% of children who developed sepsis had a health condition that may have put them at risk.
  • Sepsis occurs most often in people 65 years or older or younger than one year, with weakened immune systems, or with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes).
  • While less common, even healthy infants, children, and adults can develop sepsis from an infection, especially when not treated properly.
  • Many Black Americans have chronic medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease that increase your risk for Sepsis.
    Sepsis: Waiting on Treatment can get You Killed!

    About 7 in 10 patients with sepsis had chronic diseases that required medical care.

How is Sepsis treated?

Jay Harold wants you to know that Sepsis treatment is a national healthcare priority, and you will get treatment. People with sepsis are usually treated in the hospital. Doctors try to treat the infection, keep the vital organs working, and prevent a drop in blood pressure.

Doctors treat sepsis with antibiotics as soon as possible. Many patients receive oxygen and intravenous (IV) fluids to maintain normal blood oxygen levels and blood pressure. 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.

Treatment for sepsis often involves a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit and complex therapies, which incur high costs. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality lists sepsis as the most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals, costing more than $20 billion in 20114.

There are Sepsis Treatment Guidelines! (Great News for Patients)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services5  (CMS) is one of the most important agencies in the United States. CMS provides healthcare through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace (Obama Care). They also set the criterion that hospitals should meet on certain medical conditions like Sepsis. Failure to meet the benchmark results in the withholding of a certain percentage of money from the hospital. The result is prompt, consistent and comprehensive care for everyone who goes to the Emergency Room for Sepsis.

Jay Harold found a useful booklet on Sepsis, Understanding Sepsis, that provides good knowledge on the subject. Since 80 percent of people who get sepsis develop this often deadly complication outside of a hospital, you are the key to preventing and treating Sepsis.

Click this link to get free Health and Wealth information to improve your life. Play the free  “Slow Roll Through Civil Rights” Game found on the Jay Harold website. Enjoyed this post? Share it and read more here.  Questions?  “Ask the Pharmacist a Question!”



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