Blog: Sepsis, a guide for parents

9th September 2019

Written by Medical Negligence Solicitor, Jennifer Argent

Children are susceptible to developing sepsis and because of that it is important for parents to know the signs and symptoms to be aware of. This blog will explore why children, along with adults over 65 and those with poor immune systems, are most at risk and what you can do to prevent it.

Sepsis can be difficult to identify and it isn’t possible to prevent it. However, taking steps to stop an infection will reduce the chance of your child developing the disease.

Encourage your child to regularly wash their hands and clean any cuts or grazes. On top of this, keep an eye on any wound’s recovery and ensure they heal as expected. Also, if your child has a medical device like a catheter, follow your doctors advice for cleaning and using it.

Due to sepsis’ symptoms being common in other childhood illnesses such as a cold, it’s very hard to detect. On the other hand, parents know their children and instincts are a useful tool.

If your child isn’t quite right, and has one or more of the common symptoms, seek emergency medical care.

When it comes to sepsis, parents know their children and instincts are a useful tool.

Clues that your child might be suffering from sepsis;

  1. Fever or shivering (infants may have a low temperature)
  2. Fast breathing
  3. A racing heartbeat
  4. Sweaty or clammy skin
  5. Extra sleepiness, trouble waking up or confusion
  6. Complaining of bad pain

If you suspect sepsis, blood and urine tests, along with x-rays and/or CT scans, can be carried out to check for infection.

If this is the case, firstly, don’t panic.

Sepsis can be treated with antibiotics, but it will always require a stay in hospital. Sometimes children will need a blood transfusion to carry oxygen and they may also require a ventilator to assist with breathing.

Remember, knowing if there is an infection means preventing further organ damage occurring.

For more information on sepsis and treatment, visit:

NHS Sepsis page

The UK Sepsis Trust

Global Sepsis Alliance

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