Do you know how to identify sepsis?
September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Each year 75,000 children in the United States get severe sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. With children and teens back in school, it’s important for parents and caregivers to know the facts.
What raises the risk of a child or teen getting sepsis?
- An infection or open wound
- Recent surgery
- Weak immune system
The symptoms of sepsis include:
- A high fever of 101 degrees or above
- Shortness of breath or troubled breathing
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Fast heart rate
- Irritable, confused, less interest in activities or eating
“Because the symptoms for sepsis are similar to other medical conditions, it can be hard to quickly recognize,” says Dr. Emily Dawson, pediatric emergency medicine and critical care at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “That’s why parents play such a key role in helping to identify it. Parents know their child. If they see symptoms and are concerned, it is important to call your pediatrician or seek urgent or emergency care. Getting care quickly is critical.”
Dr. Dawson says ACT can help parents remember what to do if they suspect sepsis. A — Act immediately, C — Communicate that you are concerned it is sepsis when talking to health care professionals. T — Trust your gut. If you think things aren’t right, speak up.
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!