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SepsisWhat is Sepsis?

Sepsis, also know as blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition, however it can be easily treated if caught early. Symptoms of sepsis will present differently between adults and children.

How do I spot Sepsis?

Sepsis could occur as the result of any infection. There is no one sign for sepsis.

Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. Seek medical help urgently if you develop any of the following:

Slurred speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe breathlessness
It feels like you’re going to die
Skin mottled or discoloured

Sepsis in Children

If your child is unwell with either a fever or very low temperature (or has had a fever in the last 24 hours) just ask "could it be sepsis?".

Any child who:

  • is breathing very fast
  • has a 'fit' or convulsion
  • looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • feels abnormally cold to touch

might have sepsis. Call 999 and just ask "could it be sepsis?".

Any child under 5 who:

  • is not feeding
  • is vomiting repeatedly
  • hasn't had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours

might have sepsis. If you're worried they're deteriorating call 111 or ask to see your GP.

Download the SAM leaflet (Sepsis Assessment & Management) for more information and a helpful checklist.

SAM Leaflet

Sepsis Symptom Child

Sepsis Symptoms Adult

Please visit The UK Sepsis Trust for more information and excellent resources.

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website