Sepsis in adults and older children
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition. It can lead to multiple
organ failure and possibly death. Find out what to look for and
what to do.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to an infection.
The infection can happen anywhere in the body. For example, a chest
or urinary infection, or problems in the abdomen like burst ulcers,
or even simple skin injuries like cuts and bites. Sepsis is
sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning.
It is a life-threatening condition which makes the immune system
go into overdrive as it tries to fight the infection. This can
reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart,
and kidneys, eventually leading to multiple organ failure and
Signs and symptoms
Sepsis can be hard to spot. It can initially look like flu or a
chest infection. Symptoms can appear different in babies and young
children from those of adults and older children.
In adults and older children, look for:
- • Slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, or
- • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
- • Passing no urine over the past 24 hours
- • Severe breathlessness or rapid
- • ‘I feel sicker than I ever have before’
- • Skin is mottled, pale or discoloured
They may not have all of these symptoms.
What to do
1. If someone is unwell and you think they have one or more
symptoms of sepsis, do not wait, call 999 or 112 for emergency help
2. While you’re waiting for help to arrive, reassure them, and
keep them comfortable.
3. Monitor their level of response.
first aid advice for sepsis in babies and young