Be aware of the dangers of sepsis

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A Luton mum whose child almost died from sepsis has joined the campaign to highlight the dangers of not spotting the disease in time.

Luton Borough Council, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and Luton Clinical Commissioning Group, are encouraging people across Luton to ask ‘Could it be Sepsis?’ if a family member shows symptoms of the condition.

Rachel Oyoo nearly lost her daughter Rosie to Sepsis, she explains: “We were very, very lucky. Rosie had what I thought was a bad case of chicken pox, we took her to the doctor and had the paramedics out to our house, but neither diagnosed her with Sepsis. My son was also ill with chicken pox and it was only when the paramedics took them both into A&E that a nurse from the Luton and Dunstable Hospital realised Rosie had Sepsis and the symptoms of septic shock and immediately started treatment.

“Before Rosie was diagnosed I wasn’t aware of what Sepsis was, now I know I realise that Rosie had the symptoms; she was in a lot of pain, she had a rash rising up her tummy, she hadn’t done a wee in over 12 hours and she was very lethargic.

“We were very fortunate that the nurse from the L&D recognised it was Sepsis and saved Rosie’s life. I’ve been working with the UK Sepsis Trust to raise awareness of the condition and through them I’ve met parents who weren’t as lucky and who sadly lost their child to Sepsis.

“I would strongly encourage parents to learn about Sepsis and the symptoms, and to ask a health professional ‘Could it be Sepsis?’ if they are concerned about their child. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to take their child to the GP or A&E if they suspect it could be Sepsis.”

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s own immune response to an infection injures tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if not recognised early and treated promptly. It is considered difficult to diagnose and as a result it can be missed by family members and professionals.

Sepsis kills around 44,000 people in the UK each year and people are at risk during the winter months as Sepsis can occur as a result of winter infections such as flu. The condition can affect anyone and mostly kills adults, but young children and older people are especially vulnerable owing to weaker immune systems.

Dr Rohinton Mulla, Consultant Microbiologist and Director for Infection Prevention & Control at the L&D, added: “Sepsis is an extremely serious condition which needs to be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics at an early stage. The consequences of not recognising the symptoms can lead to the body going into shock, multi organ failure, and death. It is therefore important that everyone recognises the signs and takes the appropriate action, whether this is calling 111, seeing their GP, or, if in the more acute stages of the illness, call 999 or go to A&E. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution and see a health professional.”

Parents should call 999 or go to A&E if their child is; breathing very fast, has a ‘fit’ or convulsion, looks mottled, bluish or pale, has a rash that doesn’t fade when you press it, is very lethargic or difficult to wake, feels abnormally cold to touch. If your child is under 5 and isn’t feeding, is vomiting repeatedly, hasn’t passed urine or wet nappy for 12 hours, parents should call 111 or see their GP.

For more information about the signs and symptoms of Sepsis visit www.nhs.uk/sepsis