West Reading, PA. – Reading Hospital will join healthcare organizations around the world in recognizing “World Sepsis Day” on Wednesday, September 13.
Sepsis is caused by a body’s overwhelming immune response to infection. When a person is septic, the body releases immune chemicals into the blood to combat the infection. These chemicals trigger widespread inflammation, which can impair blood flow and lead to tissue damage, organ failure, or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1.7 million people develop sepsis each year in the United States, a statistic that surpasses the number of people who experience heart attack or die from any one type of cancer in a given year.
“Education about sepsis is important, because the condition is often curable if caught early and treated appropriately,” said Debra Powell, MD, Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases and Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Reading Hospital. “Sepsis symptoms may include confusion, shortness of breath, high heart rate, fever or shivering, extreme pain or discomfort, or clammy or sweaty skin. Because some of the symptoms mirror those of a cold or flu, sepsis may advance before someone realizes their condition is more than a cold or the flu.”
Although groups most at-risk for sepsis include children younger than one, adults age 65 or older, and individuals with chronic diseases and weakened immune systems, anyone can develop sepsis. Prevention of sepsis includes following a general hygiene plan, washing your hands, and taking care of any open wounds.
If you think you may be septic alert a medical professional immediately or call 911 and say, “I am concerned about sepsis.” If a patient in an emergency room or hospital is suspected of being septic, the hospital will give antibiotics and IV fluids and will conduct tests to determine the condition and best course of treatment.
Physicians interviews are available upon request.