In light of Sepsis Awareness Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched an educational initiative dubbed “Get Ahead of Sepsis.” The initiative underscores the importance of early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis, as well as the importance of preventing infections that could result in sepsis.
The CDC defines sepsis as “the body’s extreme response to an infection.” Therefore, early identification and treatment can be the difference between life and death.
The Get Ahead of Sepsis initiative calls on health care professionals to suspect and identify sepsis early, start treatment quickly, and educate patients on the signs and symptoms associated with sepsis. These symptoms can include any of the following:
confusion or disorientation,
shortness of breath,
high heart rate,
fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold,
extreme pain or discomfort, and
clammy or sweaty skin
In addition, this work urges patients and their families to prevent infections, be alert to the symptoms of sepsis, and seek immediate medical care if sepsis is suspected or for an infection that is not improving or is getting worse.
According to the CDC, about 35% of lung infections, such as pneumonia, lead to sepsis, 25% of kidney or urinary tract infections, 11% of gut, stomach, or intestine infection, and 11% of skin infections result in sepsis. In fact, each year, over 1.5 million individuals get sepsis in the United States, and 250,000 individuals die from it.
“Detecting sepsis early and starting immediate treatment is often the difference between life and death. It starts with preventing the infections that lead to sepsis,” CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD said in a recent press release. “We created Get Ahead of Sepsis to give people the resources they need to help stop this medical emergency in its tracks.”
The CDC website provides individuals with different resources that can help them “get ahead of sepsis.” These resources include basic information on sepsis, ways to prevent infections, and ways individuals can protect themselves and their families from sepsis.
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