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Sepsis - the signs and symptoms

Sepsis affects more than 250,000 people in the UK every year and can be fatal without early detection. However, it is estimated that up to 80% of those patients diagnosed, survive sepsis and most patients who experience this critical illness will return to a normal or a ‘near normal’ life within 18 months.

Last week it was announced by the Scottish Health Secretary, Shona Robinson that a national campaign had been formalised to raise awareness of sepsis and the importance of a quick response. This decision comes as a welcome relief to charities and those affected by sepsis in the hope that an increased level of awareness will help reduce mortality rates and equip the public with an increased understanding of the signs and symptoms associated with the condition.

As symptoms are often mistaken for flu, Charlotte Hannibal was one of the many people that assumed her symptoms would go away after a little while. Waking up one Tuesday morning feeling not quite her usual self, she brushed off her symptoms; however, on the Wednesday evening, she was put into an induced coma where she spent the next three weeks. After four months in the hospital and whilst lucky to be alive, Charlotte was left with life-changing injuries including the loss of all her fingers from her left hand. After a lengthy rehabilitation process, Charlotte is now recovering well and you can read more about her rehabilitation here.

Unfortunately, as with many sepsis cases, Charlotte’s condition quickly deteriorated. It is estimated that mortality from sepsis increases 8% for every hour that treatment is delayed and as many as 80% of sepsis deaths could be prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment. With the first hour being so critical it is positive news that the Scottish Government is taking steps to raise awareness of sepsis, the signs, and the symptoms.

For more information on sepsis, please visit the NHS and the UK Sepsis Trust websites.

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