BALTIMORE, MD (September 12, 2018)— Governor Larry Hogan has declared September as Sepsis Awareness Month in an effort to help spread awareness of the signs, symptoms, and severity of the illness. Sepsis is a serious and often fatal clinical syndrome that can result from infection. It is a leading cause of deaths in hospitals and preventable deaths in children. Sepsis affects 1.5 million people each year in the U.S., including approximately 30,000 Maryland residents. Killing more Americans than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) combined, approximately 250,000 Americans die from sepsis each year. However, the 2017 Sepsis Alliance Annual Awareness survey showed that less than one percent of respondents knew the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
When sepsis is suspected, quick action is vital for improving survival rates. Sepsis can occur in individuals who have an infection, and can occur at home or in a healthcare setting. Marylanders should familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of sepsis:
- Shivering, fever, or very cold temperature
- Extreme physical pain or discomfort
- Pale, mottled, or discolored skin
- Sleepiness and difficulty waking, disorientation, or confusion
- “I feel like I might die”
- Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, or elevated heart rate
These signs and symptoms can also be associated with other life-threatening conditions requiring prompt action and medical care. If you or someone that you know is experiencing sepsis, call 911 or visit an emergency department immediately and share that you suspect sepsis.
Sepsis prevention recommendations include:
- Taking steps to prevent infection (by taking care of chronic conditions, getting recommended vaccines, completing prescribed courses of antibiotics, and following up on provider recommendations)
- Practicing good hygiene (through proper hand hygiene, general hygiene, oral hygiene, blood sugar control, and management of medical devices including implantable devices)
- Knowing the symptoms of sepsis and acting quickly if symptoms do not improve or if there is a sudden worsening of symptoms
To learn more about how to protect yourself and your family members from sepsis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Sepsis Alliance website.