Staying Informed about Sepsis: What Women Need to Know for World Sepsis Day
World Sepsis Day is celebrated on September 13, 2023. Sepsis is a serious condition that affects millions of people each year. It’s important to understand sepsis symptoms, risk factors, and how to prevent this dangerous infection that can lead to organ failure and even death when left untreated.
What Exactly is Sepsis? Understanding This Condition for World Sepsis Day
Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. Normally when you get an infection, your immune system kicks into gear to fight it off. But with sepsis, the immune system goes into overdrive, triggering widespread inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can damage tissues and organs.
Sepsis can start with any type of infection, including:
- Lung infections like pneumonia
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin infections
- Infections in the digestive tract
- Bloodstream infections
Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to septic shock. This is when blood pressure plummets and organs begin to fail. Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
Why Women Need to Know About Sepsis Risks on World Sepsis Day
Certain people are at higher risk of developing sepsis. According to the CDC, risks start going up around age 65. But even at 40-55, you may face increased risk if you have:
- Kidney disease
- Any illness or treatment that weakens the immune system
Having been hospitalized or stayed in an intensive care unit also raises risk. The more health issues you have, the more vigilant you need to be about sepsis prevention and recognizing symptoms early. As a woman over 40, it’s crucial to understand these risks and be proactive about reducing infection exposure whenever possible.
Learn the Signs of Sepsis on World Sepsis Day
Catching sepsis quickly can save your life. According to the WHO, sepsis symptoms to watch for include:
- High fever or low body temperature
- Shivering or shaking chills
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Confusion or difficulty thinking clearly
- Clammy, sweaty skin
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Weakened heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Decreased urine output
If you notice these sepsis red flags, seek medical care immediately. Call 911 or get to an emergency room right away. Rapid treatment is vital.
How to Help Prevent Sepsis
Reducing your infection risk is the best way to prevent sepsis. Protect yourself with these precautionary steps:
- Get recommended vaccines, including yearly flu shot and one-time pneumonia vaccine after age 65
- Practice good hygiene like handwashing and keeping wounds clean
- See your doctor for any infections you develop to treat them promptly
- If you have chronic illnesses like diabetes or COPD, stay on top of managing them
- Ask your doctor about preventive antibiotics before surgeries or invasive procedures
- Be cautious about antibiotic overuse and take them exactly as prescribed
Making infection prevention a priority now will help safeguard your health going forward.
How is Sepsis Treated?
Early treatment is critical for sepsis survival. Here are some key aspects of sepsis care:
- Antibiotics – Broad-spectrum antibiotics are given intravenously to fight the underlying infection. Cultures may be taken to identify the type of pathogen.
- IV fluids – Fluids help maintain blood pressure and prevent organ damage from poor circulation.
- Oxygen – Extra oxygen may be given to help organs function.
- Medications – Vasopressors raise blood pressure, while anti-inflammatory drugs help control the immune response.
- Surgery – Surgery may be needed to remove infected tissue that could act as a continued source of sepsis.
In severe cases, complex treatments like kidney dialysis or mechanical ventilation may be required. But again, early recognition and rapid treatment provide the best chance of survival.
Use World Sepsis Day to Get Informed
World Sepsis Day on September 13th is meant to raise global awareness about this medical emergency. As a woman, use it as motivation to learn all you can about sepsis risks, warning signs, and prevention.
Understanding sepsis could save your life or the life of someone you love. Don’t take this critical threat lightly. Arm yourself with the knowledge needed to stay healthy and avoid sepsis complications.
Find an Infectious Disease provider here.