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Sepsis Awareness Month

Every year from the 1st of September until the 30th is Sepsis Awareness Month. For me this awareness month is very close to my heart as I have battled sepsis numerous times and it is how I got my first stoma.

On average in the UK every year there are 123,000 reported cases of sepsis and an estimated death rate of 37,000 associated with this illness every year.

Sepsis is still one of the most misdiagnosed illnesses and has a high death ratio due to it being diagnosed often when it’s too late. 

My journey with Sepsis

My journey with sepsis started in August 2004. I had been experiencing flu like symptoms, hot and cold flushes, generally feeling like death warmed up and I got rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning by my mum and got sent home at 7 am with antibiotics and was told I had a urine infection. 

Two days later I collapsed at work, got rushed to the same hospital and was told I had to go down to theatre immediately as my appendix ruptured and I had sepsis. They had to get the remains of the appendix out and clear out the infection. I spent a month in hospital and felt very weak for 6 months after. Being 18 years old at the time, I really didn’t understand the severity of what I had been through and brushed it off.

2009

I had a C-section in 2009 and little did I know that 2 days after that I would be fighting for my life quite literally. My bowel and fistula perforated during the rather torrid C-section and left me with fecal peritonitis, a three week stint on life support and just over 3 months in hospital. I had to learn how to walk, talk and eat again all whilst having my daughter with me in a side room. 

2012

I had a perianal abscess which burst and left me with sepsis yet again.

2018

After my Barbie butt surgery I had the early onset of sepsis again and a week on IV antibiotics to get me back to normal. 

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by your body’s immune system working overtime to fight infection. This is called septicemia. 

A large number of chemicals are released into the blood, when this happens it triggers widespread inflammation. This can lead to organ damage. 

Blood clotting during sepsis reduces blood flow to the limbs and internal organs. 

This deprives them of nutrients and oxygen. In severe cases, one or more organs can fail.

In the worst cases, sepsis leads to life threatening drop in blood pressure. Doctors call this septic shock. It can quickly lead to failure of several organs, i.e. liver, kidneys and lungs; in some cases this can be fatal. 

Sepsis symptoms

Sepsis can develop in different parts of the body, this illness can have many different symptoms. The first signs may include confusion and rapid breathing. 

Other warning signs can be the symptoms mentioned below:

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

For those of you reading this should any of your family members or yourself ever experience these symptoms then please get straight to hospital and tell them you think it may be sepsis. Even if it is not sepsis it is better to have it checked as it can go downhill rather quickly and harder to treat the longer it is left. 

As always

Many thanks for reading 

Louise X

For more information on sepsis, click here

 

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