- be aware of the six symptoms to look out for|
Dr Mark Porter
feels sepsis (blood poisoning) tops his list of nasty diseases. It has a comparatively
low profile. In an article in the Times on Tuesday 24th April 2018 he highlighted
the need to be aware of the sepsis symptoms.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning,
is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues.
more information on sepsis visit sepsistrust.org
our earlier note on another of Dr Mark Porter's articles on recognising the signs
of a stroke and how the FAST reminder can help you. More
180425, updated 180427
is of the essence" is an oft-used cliché in medicine, but with sepsis
it really can mean the difference between life and death. Caught early, the outcome
is likely to be good. Caught late and it can be bleak. Making sure you and those
near you to know the warning signs of sepsis is so important. Times
the signs of sepsis|
For adults DR Mark Porter says think of the word SEPSIS
as a way of providing a checklist to look for:
> S - slurred
speach or confusion.
> E - extreme shivering or muscle aches.
P - passing no urine in a day.
> S - severe breathlessness.
I. - I feel unwell or worse.
- skin mottled or discoloured or a reddish/purplish rash that doesn't blanch with
If any of these apply seek medical help urgently and make sure you
ask "could it be sepsis?"
is caused by a combination of infection and the body's immune response to
attack which rather than helping to eliminate the invader can sometimes trigger
a cascade reaction leading to shock, multiple organ failure and death. Sepsis
typically develops after serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia or meningitis,
but it can complicate seemingly mundane ones too. Cases have been seen where a
cut on the leg or finger from working in the garden have resulted in serious problems
and in some cases death.|
common is sepsis
Official figures suggest that there are about 160,000
cases of sepsis every year in the UK leading to about 40,000 deaths. So a death
rate of 1 in 4.
worth reflecting on three cases and then decide.
in the leaves in the garden
A fellow mountain walking friend of the V8
Webmaster, a retired physics professor in the US with Scottish ancestry, was clearing
up the leaves in his garden and, without wearing gloves, must have pricked his
finger on a thorn or holly leaf. He felt slightly unwell that night and like many
men thought little of it but later it developed to a stage where the following
morning he sought medical advice and was rapidly admitted to hospital. But the
rate at which the sepsis developed resulted in his death in two days from his
working in his garden. That rapid development of the sepsis illness hit a fit
and active man. His widow was left stunned. This is not hearsay but a true story.
is sound advice to wear good protective gloves when working in your garden.
Working on a trellis in the garden
A lady was gardening and at some
stage adjusted a trellis when she must have nicked her finger on a nail or timber
splinter. That night she was aware she had a sore finger and the following day
it became more so. During the second night she awoke and turned on the light to
see half of her finger was black. Living on her own she took a photo of her finger
on her mobile phone and sent it to her daughter who promptly replied she had ordered
an Uber taxi which would arrive in the next 15 minutes to take her mother to hospital.
On arrival she was taken straight into the operating theatre for emergency surgery
to remove a section of her finger back to a joint. The medics said had she delayed
attending A&E for a further couple of hours the surgery could have involved
removing the whole arm to save her life. This is not hearsay but a true story.
Another sepsis experience and close call
Watson, a longstanding MGB enthusiast, relates his recent experience with sepsis
saying "I have seen an article on the V8 Website regarding SEPIS whilst I
am in the process of recovering from it. Here is a brief history of my very sudden
illness. On Easter Monday I was finding it difficult to pee, this was hurting
by Tuesday and I went to bed early with paracetamol that evening. Wednesday morning
I spoke with my doctor who wanted me to go and see her. She checked on a urine
sample I had taken in and said I had a urine infection. She sent me home with
antibiotics and instructions to take the maximum dose of paracetamol, to go to
bed and she would call me in the morning.
9.00pm I was shaking so much I could not open my pills, Gill came up and helped
me, I then went back to bed. Unknown to me the shaking continued and Gill was
getting worried, so she called the emergency 111 service and they dispatched an
ambulance, the paramedics tried to put fluid into me which I kept pulling out,
my blood pressure was dropping, so I was then transported to the John Radcliffe
hospital in Oxford. I came too when we were arriving at the A&E department
at around midnight, and there were about 10 doctors and nurses around me and they
added more drips etc. I was kept in A&E overnight and transferred to the Intensive
Care unit at 06:30 on the Thursday. My blood pressure had dropped and they were
worried the infection had got to my kidneys and may be into my heart. As my Doctor
told me later you have been very, very, very ill.
was moved from Intensive Care to a ward on Saturday and left the John Radcliffe
on Sunday evening. That was two and a half weeks ago and I am now about 90% OK
but get tired if I do too much.
have been asked to attend a UK Sepsis Trust seminar on Tuesday which could be
interesting. I hope my story is of interest, it shows how quickly thing can happen.
If Gill had not called 111 at that time it would have been a very bad situation".
- some practical advice from Nic Houslip
Nic says "I am extremely
happy to hear you have recovered. Sepsis is very worrying, especially for us older
members, it must relate to reduced immune system efficiency but for the how or
why we will have to wait until the medics find out. There was an MP who suffered
late in 2016 if I recall.
might be worth understanding that if you work on your car, the little nicks and
scratches that perhaps we ignored years ago [such as a grazed knuckle when the
spanner slipped] should be attended to immediately, rather than leaving it until
finishing the job.
for years shunned the wearing of gloves when working on a car, but my friend who
is a Service Manager in a Mercedes dealer gave me a couple of pairs of those nylon
mesh woven gloves with a polyurethane coating on the palms and fingers, these
are extremely good, and I bought more. Although feel is slightly reduced, this
isnt a problem for most work, but for assembling tiny parts such as are
used in carburettors or distributors, fingers are perhaps best, but by then the
parts should all be clean.
gloves are available from PPE suppliers at low cost. I now find that Jackie has
been borrowing them as they are also good for gardening, and although
probably not proof against a rose thorn [not much is], are able to keep hands
clean, perhaps helping to prevent infection. Jackie also found out that they are
washable, which is useful.
bought mine from UK
Safety Store and Warrior Black PU gloves are the ones I use.