LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Sepsis is a medical emergency that kills more than 250,000 Americans every year.
It often starts as a simple infection that somehow begins to rage out of control and can become life threatening within 24 hours of the symptoms.
September is Sepsis Awareness Month, a time to learn the symptoms so you can get help at the earliest sign of sepsis.
Dr. Jamie Roney, Regional Sepsis Coordinator at Covenant Health, has developed this acronym to help people remember the clues:
The S in sepsis means Shivering with a fever.
The E indicates extreme pain.
The P is pale or discovered skin.
The S is sleepy or confused.
The I is because they might tell you - "I feel like I might die."
And the S indicates shortness of breath.
Dr. Roney says Sepsis also takes the lives of about 45,000 children in the U.S. every year, more than the number of deaths from all pediatric cancers combined. That's why she hopes parents will be aware that the symptoms are a little different in children. She says, "A lot of times, they have a rash and if you push down the rash, it doesn't go away. They also lose their appetite and they might have nausea or vomiting with no real cause for that. It's very difficult to control and they get really sleepy as well." She adds that rash could appear all over the body, but mostly it shows up in the extremities.
Dr. Roney says there are some major reasons for sepsis in both adults or children.
The number one trigger is pneumonia, but also abdominal, bladder, urinary or skin infections can be the route of the problem.
Bottom line, she says if you suspect sepsis, call 911 and say that you are concerned it could be sepsis.
That alone would indicate an urgent situation.