Sepsis is an indiscriminate killer, claiming young and old lives alike and affecting the previously fit and healthy. Although sepsis occurs less frequently in children than in adults, sepsis can happen to everyone. The symptoms in adults and children differ, therefore it is vital that we are aware of what to look for to safeguard ourselves and those around us. Sepsis can happen as a response to any infection or injury, anywhere in the body. It can result from:

  • a chest infection causing pneumonia
  • a urine infection in the bladder
  • a problem in the abdomen, such as a burst ulcer or a hole in the bowel
  • an infected cut or bite
  • a wound from trauma or surgery
  • a leg ulcer or cellulitis
  • As sepsis presents differently in adults and children knowing the symptoms is crucial, so that we can advocate not only for ourselves but for friends and family and other members of our community.
  • It’s unknown why some people who get an infection develop sepsis and others don’t. People are more likely to develop sepsis after a viral illness like a cold, or a minor injury. But it can affect anyone, regardless of age or state of health. However, some people are more likely to get sepsis, including those who:
  • are very young or very old
  • are diabetic
  • are on long-term steroids or on drugs to treat cancer or other conditions
  • have had an organ transplant and are on anti-rejection drugs
  • are malnourished (your body hasn’t had enough food)
  • have serious liver disease
  • have a serious illness which affects your immune system (the way your body protects itself from infection), such as leukaemia
  • have an infection or a complication after an operation
  • are pregnant or have just given birth

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