This is a post prepared under a contract funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and written on behalf of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network for use in CDC’s Get Ahead of Sepsis educational effort. Opinions on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CDC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched a new initiative, Get Ahead of Sepsis. Learn more about it to protect yourself and your family.
A few years ago, while on vacation my son got what is commonly referred to as “swimmers ear.” It is when water is trapped inside the ear canal and can be very painful. We did all we could to treat it with over-the-counter medication until we returned home the following day. When we arrived home, we made an appointment to see the pediatrician. While in the pediatrician’s office, blood starting coming out of his ear and he was rushed back into the exam room. His pediatrician did a procedure right then and there called “wicking the ear” and told us to watch it closely over the next 24 hours. The doctor advised us to go to the ER right away if it did not get better. He used the term “sepsis” and explained the seriousness of the situation. I had no idea a simple ear infection could turn into a life-threatening ordeal. I had no idea infections could possibly put me and my family at risk for a life-threatening condition called sepsis. This is why the new initiative from the CDC, Get Ahead of Sepsis, sparks an important conversation for us all!
What are the warning signs and symptoms?
Sepsis signs and symptoms can include one or a combination of the following:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Remember: Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis.
When you or someone you know has an infection, it is extremely important to watch for the signs and symptoms above. It could be a matter of life or death!
How Can We Get Ahead of Sepsis?
- Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps you can take to prevent infections. Some steps include taking good care of chronic conditions and getting recommended vaccines.
- Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing, and keeping cuts clean and covered until healed.
- Know the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
- ACT FAST. Get medical care IMMEDIATELY if you suspect sepsis or have an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse.
Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one suspect sepsis or has an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”
To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit www.cdc.gov/sepsis.
For more information about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.