Sepsis Synopsis

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body's response to an infection. It develops when the chemicals of the immune system which are released into the bloodstream to fight an infection in one part of the body cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. This  complication of infection can lead to organ failure and in severe cases, death.

More than one million patients are hospitalised for sepsis each year. People with chronic medical conditions, such as neurological disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and kidney disease, are at particular risk for developing sepsis.

So what should you watch for?

Signs of Sepsis


While any type of infection — bacterial, viral or fungal — can lead to sepsis, the most likely varieties include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Abdominal infection
  • Kidney infection
  • Bloodstream infection (bacteremia)



  • Fever and chills
  • Very low body temperature
  • Peeing less than normal
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

As you can see, these symptoms can be hard to distinguish from other, less harmful infections and illnesses, but if in doubt, especially with vulnerable people like young children and the elderly or immuno-compromised, then go to a walk-in centre or your GP to get checked out.

Sepsis is treatable if it is identified and treated quickly, and in most cases leads to full recovery with no lasting problems.

Septic Shock

In the worst cases, blood pressure drops, the heart weakens, and the patient spirals toward septic shock. Once this happens, multiple organs—lungs, kidneys, liver—may quickly fail, and the patient can die. Sepsis is a major challenge in hospitals, where it's one of the leading causes of death with an estimated 6 in every 10 cases proving fatal. 

According to the CDC, sepsis one of the top 10 causes of death in the US. Often, people can recover from early to mild sepsis, but there is a 50% mortality rate for those that develop late severe sepsis. (18 Apr 2013)

So how can this be prevented?

Prevention is better than cure

How can you avoid getting sepsis?

Here's how:

  1. Get vaccinated - 35% of sepsis cases in the CDC study stemmed from pneumonia
  2. Treat urinary tract infections promptly - a quarter of sepsis cases resulted from urinary tract infections
  3. Clean skin wounds properly
  4. Avoid infections in hospitals by always using the antibacterial gel or foam provided on entering or exiting each area
  5. Wash your hands well after using the toilet

IDH Training

At IDH Training, we take health very seriously and understand the need to educate in order to prevent illnesses and worse. All our courses come with the highest level of engagement, practical application and value for money. We don't cut corners and as the courses are tailored to meet the needs of each group, we ensure all participants leave with a full measure of learning and understanding.

Check out our website for a full list of courses and medical event cover options at