Why is sepsis on the increase and how do you get it?

(Picture: Getty)

A recent Coronation Street storyline has highlighted a health issue on the rise at the moment – sepsis.

What started as a fall and a knee graze for Kevin Webster’s son, Jack, became sepsis and a leg amputation.

Although Jack had complained of symptoms he was ignored, and the writers hope it will raise awareness of sepsis so similar things are avoided in real life.

Sepsis is an infection of the blood which causes the body to create a strong immune response. It can be fatal if not recognised early .

Doctors have recently warned that there may be more cases of sepsis, as people become more resistant to antibiotics.

(Picture: Getty)

Mark Bellamy, president of the Intensive Care Society, said that as bugs evolve to the point they’re unable to be treated with antibiotics, doctors need to find new ways to treat sepsis to reduce the fatality rate.

The condition already causes about 37,000 deaths a year in the UK, which Bellamy fears will be even greater with no action from health professionals.

Sepsis can occur in any part of the body when there’s an infection, and is particularly common if you’ve just had surgery.

Like in Coronation Street, it can also be contracted after an injury.

Symptoms include:

  • a fever above 38.3C or a temperature below 36C
  • heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
  • breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
  • probable or confirmed infection

If you have severe sepsis, you may experience patches of discolored skin, decreased urination, changes in mental ability, problems breathing, or even unconsciousness.

If you feel you may have early signs of sepsis, contact NHS 111, but call 999 if you have the symptoms of severe sepsis.

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