Message from the President

By Sandy Davis — Vice-President Chapter 142, Plano TX.

Don’t Mess with Sepsis—Wash Your Hands!

Sepsis is an extreme response by the body to an already-established infection.

You cannot catch sepsis from someone else. It occurs when an existing infection triggers an immune response affecting multiple organ systems. The body sends chemicals into the bloodstream to fight the infection, causing widespread inflammation and clotting that, over time, can slow blood flow and damage organs. This can lead to life-threatening septic shock, which requires aggressive treatment in a hospital setting

Symptoms include fever and chills, very low body temperature, faintness or weakness, rapid heart rate and breathing, diarrhea or nausea, and reduced urination. Sepsis is most common in the elderly (especially those with other health problems) and the very young. It can prey on those who have recently undergone major surgery, as well as those with weakened immune systems brought on by chronic illnesses such as diabetes or cancer. Blood and urine tests, X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds all have a role in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. Patients need continuous monitoring in an ICU, along with a course of antibiotics, IV fluids, oxygen, and medication to help keep blood pressure from falling to unsafe levels.

Most infections do not lead to sepsis, which can be prevented if healthcare providers faithfully practice appropriate infection-prevention techniques. These include careful washing of the hands.

In fact, hand washing is one of the primary ways to help maintain your overall health. Use good old fashioned soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make it a standard ritual before you eat, after using the bathroom, and whenever you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose.

Medical City Plano’s sepsis-prevention protocol focuses on early detection, and has achieved excellent results compared to national statistics.

With speedy diagnosis and treatment, full recovery from sepsis is possible. Without them, it can be deadly.

“It’s great to be alive and help others.”